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Telestroke: What It Is And What To Expect

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A stroke occurs when the blood flow to your brain is temporarily blocked. Because this causes the cells in that area of the brain to be deprived of oxygen and glucose, damage occurs. There are two types of stroke. In ischemic stroke, clots form in the brain's blood vessels, or in blood vessels leading to the brain. Rarely clots form in blood vessels somewhere else in your body and travel to the brain. In hemorrhagic stroke, brain vessels rupture causing blood to leak into brain tissue. This leakage causes damage to brain cells. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke. Telestroke is a system that remotely connects specialized stroke doctors so they can better evaluate people who've had recent strokes.

What it is

Telestroke uses interactive video-conferencing to deliver care when you have an acute stroke. The specialists are provided with timely information to assist clinicians at your bedside, so they can make stroke-related decisions while you're at a different facility. This improves care if you are not near a major stroke center, or if you're taken to your local emergency room. Telestroke enables doctors at other sites to confirm your diagnosis and make treatment recommendations to the emergency medicine doctors at the facility you're taken to. Because not everyone is near, or taken directly to a stroke center, Telestroke is a major advancement in the care of stroke patients. 

What to Expect

When you have a possible stroke and go to a hospital that utilizes Telestroke services, the emergency physician can call the Telestroke neurologist anytime for consultation. An on-call neurologist is available at all times. Within a few minutes, the on-call neurologist will begin working remotely with your emergency care team via video-conferencing. Together, your emergency room physician and the on-call neurologist will conduct an evaluation to confirm your stroke diagnosis. Once your diagnosis is confirmed, the on-call neurologist and your emergency medicine team will work together to make recommendations for how to treat your stroke. 

If necessary, the emergency medicine team may work with the on-call neurologist to stabilize you so that you can be transferred to a stroke center for a higher level of care. You may need to undergo diagnostic tests, such as a CT scan, which is a series of X-ray images taken from different angles. This will help your team spot a clot blocking the artery in your brain. Overall, Telestroke helps your team identify and treat a stroke faster, which reduces the damage and the rate of disability. For more information, contact companies like Telespecialists.