If you are having a stroke, it is essential that you get medical treatment as soon as possible.  Immediate treatment may help to alleviate long-term effects of a stroke and or even death. Roper St. Francis Hospital and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) have partnered to ensure that patients receive faster treatment for stroke to save more lives. The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that hospitals aim to treat patients having a stroke within 60 minutes of the onset of the event. Until recently, Roper St. Francis had an average time of 62 minutes before treating a stroke victim.  Since partnering with MUSC , the hospital is able to give medical attention to stroke patients within 56 minutes. “If we can get to a patient earlier, we are much more likely to get to the time window where we can intervene and restore function,” said Alejandro Spiotta, a neurosurgeon at MUSC.

During a stroke, 1.9 neurons are lost in the brain every minute, says the American Heart Association (heart.org). The brain contains 22 billion neurons in the forebrain. Every hour that the patient is having a stroke results in the brain aging by 3.6 years according to the AHA. South Carolina has the third highest rate of stroke in the country according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and is part of a group of Southern states known as the “stroke belt.” Strokes were the fifth leading cause of death in South Carolina in 2015 with more than 15,000 hospitalizations due to strokes, the Department of Health and Environment Control reports.

Roper St. Francis Hospital has contracted with MUSC to allow its specialists to operate at its facilities.  The Lowcountry system’s partnership allows neurologists at both hospitals to give stroke assessments by teleconference from any of the hospital system’s facilities.  This gives both hospitals the ability to monitor and assess strokes 24 hours a day. Leonardo Morantes, a neurologist with Roper St. Francis told the Post & Courier patients “get an expert set of eyes within five minutes,” and added, “that is the benefit.”  Dr. Morantes said ‘hospitals are supposed to care for people the best way they can.  This partnership has definitely helped and will continue to help patients in the Lowcountry.”

Source: Post & Courier, “Shaving Minutes and Saving Lives,” by Mary Katherine Wildeman, June 12, 2017

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