Know Stroke Podcast: UC physician discusses mobile stroke unit
Since August 2020, the UC Health mobile stroke unit has been bringing emergency department-level care directly to patients.
The specially designed ambulance is outfitted with a number of tools including a CT scanner, clot-busting medication and an iPad to consult in real time with a doctor reading the scans.
The University of Cincinnati's Christopher T. Richards, MD, recently joined the Know Stroke Podcast to discuss the past, present and future of mobile stroke units.
"It really is a way to bring the emergency department to the patient’s curbside where we can provide that acute evaluation and usually treatment for patients with acute stroke," said Richards, assistant professor in the University of Cincinnati's Department of Emergency Medicine in the College of Medicine, medical director of the UC Health Mobile Stroke Unit and a UC Health emergency physician.
Research has shown mobile stroke units to improve patient outcomes by delivering care more quickly and to be cost effective, Richards said. Continued research will work to optimize when and where it is best to utilize mobile stroke units.
The mobile stroke unit is not effective if it is not on the scene to begin with, so Richards said using precise language, such as "I think my mom is having a stroke," when calling 911 is helpful to confirm the mobile stroke unit is needed.
Featured photo at top of UC Health's mobile stroke unit courtesy of UC Health.
Remember how to identify a stroke
Because of the quick onset of stroke, it is important to know the FAST mnemonic device that details the most common signs of stroke and how to respond:
- F: Facial drooping
- A: Arm or leg drop, or weakness in the arm or leg
- S: Speech issues, such as slurred speech or an inability to get your words out
- T: Time is of the essence; call 911 immediately