Should we expand stroke evaluation and treatment to mobile stroke units? Elizabeth Tracey reports


Mobile stroke units, much like emergency medical service trucks, enable  responders to evaluate and begin treatment for stroke in the field, with a recent study demonstrating they improve outcomes. Michele Johansen, a stroke expert at Johns Hopkins, says there are a few things to consider before a full scale investment in mobile stroke units.

Johansen: Stroke in general has done a great job training EMS personnel. They know how to screen stroke, they know what to do with a stroke, they know how to get stroke to an emergency room quickly. What the mobile stroke unit has that’s different from the EMS truck is advanced technology and advanced staffing. The advanced technology is a CT scanner. Unless the cost comes down that’s something to really think about before we start throwing out all these mobile stroke units. You’re going to need somebody like a tech for the CT to be in the mobile stroke unit to do the CT. That’s one of the key components of getting someone to the emergency room quickly, is making sure that they haven’t had a bleed.  :33

Johansen says she is concerned about personnel shortages in hospitals already, and assigning someone to a mobile stroke unit may make matters worse. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.