India’s First Mobile Stroke Unit Launched by Kovai Medical Center, Coimbatore

(From Left to Right) Dr. Mathew Cherian, Chief of Radiology Services & Dr. Nalla G Palaniswami, Chairman, KMCH.

Kovai Medical Center and Hospital launched Asia’s first innovative new Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU) designed to bring time-critical stroke care to patients on the way to the hospital. This will be the world’s most comprehensive mobile stroke unit that is capable of conducting and producing advanced quality imaging for stroke diagnosis and non-invasive CT-angiography.

Receiving the correct treatment for stroke quickly is based on accurate diagnosis of the stroke with a rapid neurologic assessment and CT scan. Faster diagnosis and subsequent treatment can make a lot of difference. This unique mobile stroke unit is a specially built, state-of-art ambulance outfitted with telemedicine technology and a CT scanner enabling brain imaging that is critical to accurate diagnosis and timely treatment. The unit features the most advanced technologies, expert staff and life-saving treatment to stroke victims. It is designed to significantly reduce the time from the onset of symptoms to the delivery of care, a crucial factor in improving stroke outcomes.

Kovai Medical Center and Hospitals under the leadership of its Chairman, Dr.Nalla G Palaniswami, after several discussions with Schiller USA decided to be the first hospital in Asia to try to develop a similar strategy by ordering a mobile stroke unit, which was specifically developed for Indian roads. Our ultimate goal is to show that patients treated on the mobile stroke unit will have better outcomes because of earlier treatment and therefore will have fewer long-term acute care needs and/or rehabilitation needs” says Dr. Palanisami Across the country, there is excitement as health care providers are keenly watching whether the same model can transform the treatment of stroke in India.

How does the MSU work:

Mobile Stroke Units are specialized ambulances staffed with a nurse, paramedic, emergency personnel and CT technologist. The unit also contains lab testing equipment and a CT scanner, which is required to diagnose the type of stroke. A stroke physician at the main hospital evaluated each patient via telemedicine and a neuroradiologist remotely assessed CT images. Two way video conferencing allowed communication with the patient, family and stroke experts. The CT image is an important diagnostic test distinguishing a hemorrhagic (bleeding) stroke from ischemic stroke (blood clot blocking vessels and blood flow). The treatment for these types of strokes is different, and cannot be started until the CT scan is complete.

Once alerted the MSU and its specialist team will conduct critical assessments, perform a CT scan, and work with stroke specialists, neuroradiologists, and emergency room physicians at the hospital to diagnose and treat patients having an acute ischemic stroke.

Images from the unit’s CT scanner will be wirelessly transmitted to the hospital where our neuroradiologist will evaluate them for signs of a stroke and the type of stroke; ischemic (caused by a blood clot) or hemorrhagic (caused by a ruptured blood vessel). If it is found positive the on-board medical tea, can initiate procedures in the MSU to help the clot break. Patients are then transported to the hospital for additional care.

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