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Georgia’s First Mobile Stroke Unit is Now in Service

June 25, 2018

Grady Health System, Emory University School of Medicine, and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association today unveiled Georgia’s first mobile stroke unit – an ambulance designed to take cutting edge stroke care directly to patients.  The mobile stroke unit is part of the recently launched Marcus Stroke Network, made possible through the generosity of The Marcus Foundation. The Marcus Stroke Network is a coordinated and collaborative effort to help reduce stroke disability and death rates in the Southeastern United States.

The mobile stroke ambulance will operate in the city of Atlanta through Grady’s renowned EMS system, linking the Network doctors directly to patients in the field by utilizing an on-board CT scanner to facilitate the earliest treatment possible.

“This is an exciting and historic moment in stroke care for our state,” said Bernie Marcus, Chairman of The Marcus Foundation. “In a situation where every second counts, this specialized ambulance allows lifesaving treatment to begin for stroke patients before they reach the hospital. This is an important addition to The Marcus Foundation’s commitment to advancing stroke care.”

The mobile stroke unit will be in operation Monday through Saturday and manned by an experienced team of medical professionals – an emergency medicine nurse, paramedic, advanced EMT and CT technologist. The team will perform a diagnostic scan, transmitting the image via telemedicine to Grady’s Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center. There, an Emory University School of Medicine vascular neurologist will evaluate the patient’s condition and advise the crew on next steps for patient care, which could include treatment with the clot-dissolving drug  alteplase – this while the patient is en route to a stroke-ready hospital in Atlanta.

“Using a sophisticated telemedicine platform, our goal is to extend the vast experience and proven expertise of our stroke specialists to participating network hospitals, giving each and every stroke patient in the areas serviced by our network partners the best chance of survival and living an independent quality of life,” says Marcus Stroke Network director Michael Frankel, MD, professor & director of vascular neurology, Emory University School of Medicine, chief of neurology and director of Grady’s Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center.

The Marcus Stroke Network, endorsed by Georgia’s Department of Public Health, will also provide a 24/7 call center serving as Georgia’s first centralized resource for paramedics to assist with decisions about diagnosing stroke and indicating to the paramedic the location of the nearest appropriate hospital destination for treatment.

Hospitals participating in the Marcus Stroke Network will be guided by the science and expertise of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Assessing and treating stroke patients accurately and quickly is the goal of all entities involved in stroke care, and a result of the science and guidelines established by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.

Mobile stroke unit ribbon cutting