News | Stroke | March 23, 2016

University of Tennessee College of Medicine Launches Mobile Stroke Unit

New unit features CT and CT angiography capabilities to bypass the emergency department altogether and get patients directly into treatment

University of Tennessee, Mobile Stroke Unit, CT angiography, Siemens Somatom Scope
University of Tennessee, Mobile Stroke Unit interior, Siemens Somatom Scope CT scanner

March 23, 2016 — The University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis introduced a new, comprehensive Mobile Stroke Unit, capable of conducting and producing advanced quality imaging for stroke diagnosis and noninvasive computed tomography (CT)-angiography with a Siemens Somatom Scope CT scanner.

The Mobile Stroke Unit creates the ability to diagnose and launch treatment, including tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) treatment and the potent blood pressure drug nicardipine, within the critical first hour time frame. It also provides the ability to select patients for endovascular interventions, neurosurgery and neuro-critical care directly from the prehospital arena.

Other Mobile Stroke Units allow for initial treatment to begin quickly and for prepping for emergency room arrival. The sophistication of The UT College of Medicine Mobile Stroke Unit means a patient will be prepped to go straight to the catheterization laboratory, neuro intensive care unit or hospital stroke unit, bypassing the stop in the emergency department entirely.

“We are thrilled to have this medical first in Memphis. I want to stress that the Mobile Stroke Unit is a product of worldwide industry leaders brought together to create the first-of-its-kind vehicle,” said David Stern, M.D., the Robert Kaplan Executive Dean and vice-Chancellor for Clinical Affairs for The University of Tennessee College of Medicine and The University of Tennessee Health Science Center. “The vehicle framework is from Canada, the Siemens Somatom Scope CT scanner was developed by a German company, the custom assembly took place in New York, with the oversight and direction coming from UT College of Medicine in Memphis, Tenn. led by Dr. Andrei V. Alexandrov, the chairman of the Department of Neurology at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Semmes-Murphey Professor, who is originally from Russia.”

Weighing in at more than 14 tons, the unit includes features and capabilities such as:

  • A hospital-quality CT scanner with advanced imaging capabilities to not only allow brain imaging, but also imaging of blood vessels in the brain. Other Mobile Stroke Units in the United States and Europe use smaller portable CT scans that only image the brain (without vessels) and also require the team to move the patient for each slice (picture) that is taken. UT’s Mobile Stroke Unit provides the same number of slices in high resolution as obtained and expected in the hospital setting since it is equipped with a dedicated gantry that automatically moves the patient to obtain images;
  • Due to these advanced imaging capabilities, the Mobile Stroke Unit will be able to bypass hospital emergency departments and take patients directly to endovascular suites, operating rooms, stroke or neurocritical units;
  • It is the largest Mobile Stroke Unit in the world, complete with an internal power source capable of matching regular electrical outlet access;
  • It is the first in the world to be staffed with stroke fellowship-trained, doctorally-prepared nurses certified as advanced neurovascular practitioners (ANVP-B); and
  • The Mobile Stroke Unit capacity includes the ability to transport trainees and researchers interested in building the science of early stroke management.

“We have a tremendous burden of stroke in Shelby County, with a stroke rate per 100,000 population that is 37 percent higher than the national average,” said Stern. “The goal of the Mobile Stroke Unit is to minimize morbidity and mortality, to have more patients walk out of the hospital fully functional. Time is everything for stroke treatment; the quicker we are able to assess and attend to a patient, the better his or her chances are for recovery.”

“If we eliminate the treatment delay getting to and through the emergency room, we can save up to 90 minutes, and as a neurologist, I know that time is brain, so the more time we save, the less likely it is that permanent brain damage will occur in a patient. Our hypothesis is that we will deliver hospital-level standard of stroke care faster, equally safe, but with better outcomes due to the ability to intervene much earlier,” said Alexandrov. “Our ‘time to treatment’ target is less than one hour.”

The UT Mobile Stroke Unit is funded through a public-private collaboration for which more than $3 million has been raised, which will enable operation for up to three years. The unit will operate 12 hours a day, one week on and one week off beginning late April 2016.

“The Mobile Stroke Unit will be based in the heart of a 10-mile, most-critical-needs areas of Memphis with the highest incidence of stroke, but can be deployed within the entire metro region. We estimate that 300 patients will need to be treated by the Mobile Stroke Unit to prove its effectiveness over the course of three years,” said Alexandrov. “We believe this study will help establish a baseline of results that medical communities worldwide can use to develop and deploy similar programs to affect stroke outcomes. Our goal is a sustainable model for future funding and an overall lowering of morbidity and mortality through early treatment.”

For more information: www.uthsc.edu/medicine

Related Content

Hitachi Supria True64 CT Receives FDA Clearance
Technology | Computed Tomography (CT)| September 15, 2017
Hitachi Healthcare Americas Inc. announced it has attained U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 510(k) clearance to...
News | Cardiac Diagnostics| September 12, 2017
Contracting shingles, a reactivation of the chickenpox virus, increases a person’s risk of stroke and heart attack,...
Orange County, Calif. Hospital Adopts Siemens Somatom Force CT for Cardiac Imaging
News | Computed Tomography (CT)| September 12, 2017
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian recently became the first hospital in Orange County, Calif., to install the Siemens...
Technology | Radiation Dose Management| September 07, 2017
September 7, 2017 — Sapheneia and Scannerside received U.S.
Protembis Announces Successful First-in-Human Use of  ProtEmbo Cerebral Protection System in European Trial
News | Embolic Protection Devices| September 07, 2017
Protembis GmbH announced the first clinical applications of its ProtEmbo Cerebral Protection System to complement a...
Philips is partnering with HeartFlow to co-develop new FFR-CT and FFR-angiography imaging technologies.
News | FFR Technologies| August 28, 2017
August 28, 2017 — Philips Healthcare and HeartFlow Inc.
PinnacleHealth First in Pennsylvania to Implant Sentinel Cerebral Protection System
News | Embolic Protection Devices| August 23, 2017
PinnacleHealth is the first hospital in Pennsylvania and one of the first 10 in the country to introduce new technology...
St. Cloud Hospital Installs Toshiba Aquilion One Genesis CT for Emergency Department
News | Computed Tomography (CT)| August 23, 2017
Central Minnesota residents now have access to advanced computed tomography (CT) technology that is safe and fast at St...
Houston Methodist Hospital Enters Multi-Year Technology and Research Agreement With Siemens Healthineers
News | Cardiac Imaging| August 17, 2017
Houston Methodist Hospital and Siemens Healthineers have entered into a multi-year agreement to bring cutting-edge...
Four Blue Cross Blue Shield Companies Issue Positive Medical Policies on HeartFlow FFRct Analysis
News | FFR Technologies| August 09, 2017
HeartFlow Inc. announced that four Blue Cross Blue Shield companies have each issued a positive medical policy for the...
Overlay Init