A number of Royal Melbourne Hospital neurologists are currently in Los Angeles to present at the International Stroke Conference on the success of the first year of the Melbourne Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU) – the first of its kind in Australia.
Speaking to renowned neurologists and health professionals from around the world, the team will discuss the role of the MSU in providing immediate life-saving clot-busting therapy (thrombolysis) and resulting in-hospital surgical clot removal (endovascular thrombectomy) to people going through stroke.
The team will run through results of the first year of the MSU, which has shown time saved from dispatch to treatment commencement was 47 minutes compared to a regular ambulance. Patients who needed to undergo surgical clot removal were also spared 51 minutes from dispatch to procedure.
These time saving figures were mostly due to the CT technology within the MSUs to scan and locate the clot, specialist neurologists working on-board to provide an appropriate immediate dosage for thrombolysis, and the opportunity to provide prehospital triage and treatment plans ahead of time.
Stroke is a leading cause of disability in Australia. While stroke is highly treatable, disability can occur when treatment is delayed. It is estimated 1.9 million neurons, 14 billion synapses and 12km of myelinated fibres are destroyed each minute of an ischemic stroke. The most common forms of disability following a stroke include paralysis, memory loss, problems with movement and coordination, as well as slurred speech.
The Royal Melbourne Hospital’s Director of the Melbourne Brain Centre, Professor Stephen Davis said the MSU allows the opportunity to reduce the risk of long-term disability.
“When a person suffers a stroke, every single second counts,” Professor Davis said.
“When time is brain, this specially equipped ambulance means stroke patients will have the specialist treatments they need much sooner.”