Wednesday, September 29, 2010
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Stroke telemedicine at Mayo Clinic in Arizona, a remote monitoring system to evaluate and treat stroke patients in rural communities, will soon advance beyond the boundaries of Arizona to serve patients in Missouri.
Thanks to a gift from Missouri benefactor, Wesley Remington, the Mayo stroke telemedicine network will assist Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph's Mo., to establish a connection to rural hospitals in Missouri. Neurologists from Heartland and Mayo Clinic will be capable of simultaneously evaluating remote rural patients with stroke via telemedicine and collaborating, peer-to-peer, on treatment options. Using Internet access via laptop or smart phone, a stroke neurologist, in real-time, is able to see and talk with the patient from afar, linking up via a camera and monitor at the remote hospital — in this case, at Heartland Regional Medical Center. The Mayo stroke expert can be at a medical center, home or even on the road, thanks to the technology.
According to Bart Demaerschalk, M.D., neurologist and director of Stroke Telemedicine at Mayo Clinic, "time is brain" when it comes to stroke, meaning that left untreated, each passing moment can lead to irreparable damage to brain tissue. Evaluation by a brain expert within a three or sometimes four and ½ hour window of time — and treatment with clot-busting drugs when appropriate — can increase the probability of a full recovery. "Yet a disappointingly low proportion of Americans who experience acute stroke have timely access to stroke expertise and treatment," says Dr. Demaerschalk.
The program to serve stroke patients in Missouri can be credited to the generosity of St. Joseph's businessman Wesley Remington, whose name is synonymous with philanthropy directed toward art, nature, education and health care. Half of his gift to Mayo Clinic will go toward the development of a regional stroke telemedicine network in the St. Joseph's area, and half will go toward expanding the existing Arizona stroke telemedicine network that now serves seven rural hospitals.
The Heartland technology is expected to be installed in November 2010 and the network operational by February 2011.
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