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Clarion Hospital Collaborates With Allegheny Health Network to Bring Advanced Telestroke Services To Clarion

Utilizing the latest telemedicine technology, BHS Clarion Hospital can now offer the services of real time, audiovisual consultation with a stroke neurologist from the Allegheny Health Network (AHN) Neuroscience Institute in treating patients with stroke symptoms.

Through a USDA federally funded matching grant, BHS Clarion Hospital was able to acquire the telemedicine video conferencing carts at the hospital. This equipment allows for our physicians to connect directly with AHN neurologists to assist in evaluating the patient right here in our hospital and together determine the best course of treatment.

The telemedicine equipment is moved to the foot of the patient bed. Once it is established that a video consultation is in order, the neurologist logs into the telestroke system and can interact with the patient, their family and the BHS Clarion Hospital Physician. The neurologist discusses the assessment findings and the treatment options with the family during the video consultation. Once options are discussed the plan of treatment is put into place, which may include Alteplase, a clot busting drug that can be administered right here at BHS Clarion Hospital. There are two Telemedicine Carts available to our physicians to use, one is located in our Emergency Department and the second is located in our ICU to provide Telestroke Services to patients that are already hospitalized.

What is a stroke?

A stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that caries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked by a clot or ruptures. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs and brain cells die.

Strokes can be ischemic (a blockage of the artery) or hemorrhagic (when the artery bursts or a bleed). Sometimes a TIA (transient ischemic attack) occurs, this is also known as a mini-stroke that produces stroke-like symptoms. If you are having any symptoms of a stroke call 9-1-1 immediately, the sooner a stroke victim gets to the hospital, the sooner they will get the lifesaving treatment that they need. Stroke survivors have the best outcomes when they receive treatment in 4.5 hours or less.

How To Spot A Stroke

The acronym FAST is used in spotting stroke symptoms.

  • F – Face Drooping
    • Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • A – Arm Weakness
    • Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • S– Speech Difficulty
    • Is Speech slurred, are they unable to speak or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • T- Time To Call 911

If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately. Be sure to mark the time of the call so you will know when the first symptoms appeared. This is important information you will need to know when you get to the hospital.

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