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

Siemens Healthineers, Florida Hospital Collaborate to Improve Healthcare Outcomes
News | CT Angiography (CTA) | January 23, 2018
January 23, 2018 – Siemens Healthineers and Florida Hospital, part of Adventist Health System, have announced a multi
Videos | CT Angiography (CTA) | July 21, 2017
DAIC and ITN Editor Dave Fornell discusses some of the most innovative new computed tomography (CT) technology and tr
Videos | CT Angiography (CTA) | July 18, 2017
Matthew Budoff, M.D., FACC, professor of medicine, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, endowed chair of preventi
FFR-CT, heartflow

An example of an FFR-CT image, showing the FFR values for all coronary vessel segments and the reduction in hemodynamic flow after specific lesions.

News | CT Angiography (CTA) | July 12, 2017
July 12, 2017 — The American Medical Association (AMA) has granted a Category III Tracking Code for estimated coronar
Videos | CT Angiography (CTA) | July 10, 2017
David Bluemke, M.D., Ph.D., FAHA, professor of radiology, University of Wisconsin - Madison, incoming editor of RSNA’
Heartflow FFR-CT can noninvasively assess the hemodynamic impact of coronary lesions to avoid the need for an invasive angiogram.

HeartFlow FFR-CT can noninvasively assess the hemodynamic impact of coronary lesions to avoid the need for an invasive angiogram.

Technology | CT Angiography (CTA) | July 06, 2017
July 6, 2017 — GE Healthcare and HeartFlow Inc.
cardiac CT showing a severe right coronary artery lesion on a Toshiba Aquillion One

A cardiac CT showing a severe right coronary artery lesion on both 3-D and curved multiplanar reconstructions from a Toshiba Aquilion One CT system. The newest generation of CT scanners have very fast gantry speeds to freeze cardiac motion, improved image quality and much lower doses than previous generation scanners from a decade ago.

Feature | CT Angiography (CTA) | April 13, 2017 | Dave Fornell
Cardiac computed tomography (CT) imaging really took off a decade ago with the introduction of 64-slice scanners, whi
CTA, CT angiography, predict heart attacks, Radiology study
News | CT Angiography (CTA) | March 14, 2017
Noninvasive computed tomography (CT) angiography and stress tests can help predict which patients are likely to suffer...
HeartFlow FFRct Analysis, NICE guidance, U.K., United Kingdom, guidelines, stable chest pain
News | CT Angiography (CTA) | February 14, 2017
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) in the United Kingdom recently issued guidance for use of...
Overlay Init