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Telestroke care is a form of telemedicine. It is a service that allows neurologists to provide emergency care for patients who have had strokes but who do not have access to a neurologist at that crucial time.
Treatment for stroke caused by a blood clot is a medication called tissue plasminogen activator, or tPA. A stroke patient needs this “clot-busting” medicine within three to four hours of the first signs and symptoms of a stroke, such as face drooping on one side, inability to raise both arms, slurred speech, trouble with vision, and confusion. Administering tPA dissolves the clot and restores blood flow to the brain, which saves vital brain tissue.
By partnering with Dignity Health Telemedicine Network, Dignity Health operates the largest telestroke network on the West Coast. We have performed nearly 6,000 teleneurology consults and 17,000 total consults. Find a Doctor near you to learn more about our telestroke care in Sacramento and the surrounding areas.
Facilities that participate in a telestroke program can communicate with a neurologist through videoconferencing. After a patient comes to the emergency department with signs and symptoms of stroke, the home facility performs the initial testing. This includes brain imaging to check for signs of a blood clot in the brain.
The doctor will then relay the test findings to the Dignity Health telestroke neurologist. The neurologist may perform a remote neurologic exam on the patient through video. At this point, our neurologist can prescribe treatment, which will be carried out at the home facility.
Patients must sign a consent for their information to be transmitted to a telestroke neurologist. The neurologist may want to see the patient through video and ask the patient or family members questions about family history, incidents leading up to the stroke, and other vital information. Depending on the home facility’s set up, this may be done by tablet, computer, or smartphone.
Our telestroke team at Dignity Health will be available to answer questions from your treating doctor throughout the process and afterwards. If you are unable to travel, our telestroke team may also complete your follow-up care.