16:30 PM

Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit Arrives in Columbus

OH Mobile Stroke Treatment VNR (1)

Collaborative project will bring stroke care right to the patient

The future of mobile stroke care in central Ohio is here.

The Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit, or MSTU, is a partnership between OhioHealth, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, Mount Carmel Health System and the Columbus Division of Fire.

“We know that when a patient is having a stroke, seconds count. Time loss is brain loss. In fact, during a typical stroke, the brain loses 2 million brain cells for each minute without proper oxygen supply,” said Dr. B.J. Hicks, co-director of the comprehsive stroke program at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital.

Here’s how the Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit works:

When an emergency call comes into the Columbus Division of Fire dispatch center and a stroke is suspected, not only will a medic be dispatched, but this vehicle will be on its way, too.

On board are stroke-specific trained team members; an advanced practicing provider, CT tech and paramedics. They’ll have access to an onboard CT computed tomography scanner, point of care laboratory testing equipment and stroke neurology expertise via a telemedicine connection.

“This vehicle is unique in the sense that we can start the life-saving, stroke-specific care right there; not waiting until they arrive at the hospital," Hicks said. "As the patient is being cared for in this specially equipped vehicle, a neurologist will determine if the patient is having a stroke and what type through a CT scan. “

If ischemic, meaning the flow of blood is reduced or blocked the team will begin administering the clot-busting drug, tPA, on the spot.

The patient also will be evaluated for neuro-intervention procedures and blood pressure management.

While all this is happening, the patient is being taken to one of three comprehensive stroke centers: OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, Mount Carmel East or The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Once that patient is transported, the vehicle goes back into service for the next call.

Four organizations serving central Ohio with one goal. Changing outcomes for the fifth-leading cause of death and the leading cause of adult disability in the nation.

“All of our organizations working together with the Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit is special. We’re committed to providing the best care for the communities we serve. This vehicle, and the work being done here, will save lives,” Hicks said.