Stony Brook Medical announces the launch of what is reportedly Long Island’s first Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU) program.

Launched by the Stony Brook University Cerebrovascular and Stroke Center (CVCSC) and the Stony Brook Renaissance School of Medicine Department of Emergency Services, the program aims to provide residents with immediate, onsite advanced stroke care.

The service is expected to deploy its first unit on March 1, with a second to be deployed in April. The MSUs will be available 7 days a week, from 8AM to 8PM, which is the window of time when most stroke calls are received. The specially equipped ambulances will be strategically placed at certain exits on the Long Island Expressway and will take calls within 10 miles of their base, to ensure response times of 20 minutes or less, according to a media release from Stony Brook Medicine.

“With the MSU, we can triage and treat stroke in the field, wherever the call is located. We will be able to administer IV tPA to stroke patients at any remote location. We can then immediately transport these patients to the closest appropriate care facility where physicians will be waiting to initiate further care. These capabilities will significantly reduce the treatment times for stroke,” says David Fiorella, MD, PhD, director of the Stony Brook Cerebrovascular Center and Professor of Neurological Surgery and Radiology at the Renaissance School of Medicine, in the release.

Each MSU is described as essentially a “mobile stroke emergency room,” and includes an in-ambulance care team consisting of a critical care nurse, paramedic, EMT, and CT technologist, also known as a CAT scan technologist. It also has a telemedicine system that enables Stony Brook emergency physicians and neurologists to see and examine the patient via audio/visual conferencing.

The ambulance is also equipped with a CT scanner that can perform both a standard head CT scan as well as a CT scan angiogram. These scans will allow doctors to immediately check for bleeding in the brain and determine whether the patient has a blocked or leaking blood vessel. This information will allow the team to initiate treatment with IV tPA (when indicated) and then transport the patient to the nearest hospital that can provide them with the appropriate level of care, the release continues.

“We anticipate collaborating with approximately 50 local EMS agencies, based upon a geographic response time from our two units’ base stations,” states Eric Niegelberg, associate director of operations for emergency services and internal medicine.

“Thus far we have overwhelming support from these EMS agencies and we will continue to work with them as the program begins operation. A continuous and ongoing dialogue with our EMS partners is critical for the success of this program.”

[Source(s): Stony Brook Medical, Newswise]