By Ernie Mundell and Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporters

TUESDAY, March 2, 2021 (HealthDay Information) — You have had a stroke and arrive at a hospital, however the stroke specialist is off-duty. By no means concern: Telemedicine could assist save your life.

Particularly throughout the COVID-19 disaster, so-called ‘telestroke’ companies — the place well being staff use video to seek the advice of with a stroke specialist who could possibly be miles away — helps to result in higher affected person outcomes, new analysis exhibits.

“Our findings present vital proof that telestroke improves care and may save lives,” research senior creator Dr. Ateev Mehrotra, affiliate professor of well being care coverage and of medication at Harvard Medical Faculty, mentioned in a college information launch.

The advantages of video-enhanced care are highest for rural People, research co-author Andrew Wilcock added, regardless that many rural hospitals aren’t but outfitted for telestroke companies.

The findings “emphasize the necessity to tackle the monetary obstacles these smaller hospitals face in introducing telestroke,” mentioned Wilcock, who’s assistant professor of medication on the College of Vermont and a visiting fellow in well being care coverage at Harvard Medical Faculty.


Because the researchers defined, for sufferers with stroke signs, “time is mind.” That implies that they require fast professional evaluation and therapy to cease any mind injury and stop critical incapacity or loss of life.

However many hospitals haven’t got 24-hour stroke care groups. To make up for that, practically a 3rd of U.S. hospitals provide telemedicine consults with stroke specialists at different services, generally a whole bunch of miles away.

How a lot does it assist? To seek out out, the Harvard staff in contrast outcomes and 30-day survival amongst 150,000 stroke sufferers handled at greater than 1,200 U.S. hospitals. Half of the facilities supplied telestroke companies and half didn’t.

Sufferers at hospitals with telestroke obtained higher care and have been 4% extra more likely to be alive after 30 days than these at hospitals with out telestroke, the research discovered. The most important advantages of stroke telecare have been evident at hospitals with the bottom affected person volumes and people in rural areas, in keeping with the research printed on-line March 1 in JAMA Neurology.


The researchers additionally assessed the usage of “reperfusion” therapies, by which blood stream is restored to areas of the mind affected by the stroke to forestall irreparable injury.

Charges of this therapy have been 13% greater amongst sufferers at hospitals with stroke telecare than amongst these at hospitals with out telestroke companies.

Two stroke specialists unconnected to the research agreed that telestroke companies may be lifesaving.

The findings “verify what a number of smaller research have proven: That delivering professional stroke neurological care through distant video expertise can enhance the variety of sufferers getting the brain-saving clot-busting therapies,” mentioned Dr. Salman Azhar, who directs stroke care at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York Metropolis. “My sense is that this discovering may be extrapolated to underserved hospitals usually the place there’s a paucity of stroke specialists.”

Dr. Andrew Rogove is the top of stroke companies at South Shore College Hospital in Bay Shore, N.Y. He agreed that telestroke reduces sufferers’ odds for loss of life, however he famous that the research inhabitants was comparatively older, about 79 years of age on common.


“It could be attention-grabbing to see how telemedicine for stroke would have an effect on the outcomes in a youthful inhabitants,” Rogove mentioned.

Extra data

The American Stroke Affiliation has extra on stroke treatment.

SOURCES: Salman Azhar, MD, director, stroke care, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York Metropolis; Andrew Rogove, MD, PhD, medical director, stroke companies, South Shore College Hospital, Bay Shore, N.Y; Harvard Medical Faculty, information launch, March 1, 2021