ROCK HILL, SC – Piedmont Medical Center has linked with the Medical University of South Carolina’s (MUSC) internet consulting system for emergency evaluation and treatment of acute stroke, which kills thousands of South Carolinians yearly.
Many lives can be saved with the clot-busting drug Alteplase [TPA], but not every facility in the state has the resources to properly administer Alteplase. This is where the REACH (remote evaluation of acute ischemic stroke) network comes into place.
Once a patient is rushed to the hospital for stroke symptoms, Piedmont’s team of emergency experts can collaborate with the MUSC Stroke Center team via a secure Web portal to discuss early treatment options and whether Alteplase [TPA] is a possibility. The window for receiving this life-saving drug is small, only three hours from stroke symptom onset.
The REACH program was the idea of Robert Adams, MD, director of the MUSC Stroke Center, who was a part of a team working a similar system in Georgia and saw the immediate benefit to South Carolina, a state that has the second-highest death rate from stroke in the U.S. "The idea that you can helicopter all victims of stroke is not practical," said Adams.
Eight additional South Carolina hospitals are participating in MUSC’s REACH network. MUSC is one of four primary stroke centers currently housed in the state; two are located in Charleston and two in the upstate.
Any of these symptoms can be a sign of stroke:
- Sudden numbness or weakness to the body, especially the face, arms or legs
- Confusion or trouble talking
- Partial blindness
- Difficulties with walking due to dizziness
- Severe headache