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Cleveland Clinic Mobile Stroke Unit
How it Works
The unit resembles an ambulance on the outside, but inside it contains highly specialized staff, equipment and medications strictly used for diagnosing and treating strokes. It is equipped with a portable CT scanner that is capable of imaging the patient’s brain to detect the type of stroke they are experiencing. The CT scans are wirelessly transmitted to Cleveland Clinic neuroradiologists, who deciphers if the patient is experiencing a stroke, and if so, whether the stroke is ischemic (caused by a blood clot) or hemorrhagic (caused by a ruptured blood vessel). Meanwhile, stroke neurologists access the patient’s symptoms via telemedicine technology while en route to the hospital.
A mobile lab is able to test blood samples on board. If it is found that the patient is experiencing an ischemic stroke – which account for about 87 percent of all strokes – the on-board medical team can initiate intravenous (IV) tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to attempt to break up the clot.