Abstract 52: Establishing the First Mobile Stroke Unit in the United States
Background: A Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU) delivers Emergency Department (ED) care in the pre-hospital setting. We describe establishing the first MSU in the U.S.
Methods: A full time Medical Director and Project Manager took ownership of the project. A funding plan was developed to build,staff and supply the unit for 3 years. An ambulance company donated a standard ambulance. MSU build-out began after purchase of the CT scanner. A consortium of stakeholders was formed including leaders of the stroke programs and EDs of the city’s 3 Comprehensive Stroke Centers (CSCs) and Houston Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Policies and procedures were developed to obtain both state and city health department licensing and inspection, and an accountability system to maintain the unit to standards. Radiation safety certification was obtained from the state health department. Radiation safety experts inspected the vehicle,obtained rad. measurements and designed safety procedures,confirming minimal risk. Insurance on the vehicle and all equipment was obtained.
Staffing was hired,and a secure location to park the MSU with electrical hook-up and an office were located. An EMS education program was carried out and communication pathway developed enabling immediate MSU dispatch within a 5 mile radius following a 911 call, as well as for first-responders to activate the MSU. A study protocol was written to evaluate logistics,cost-effectiveness,telemedicine (TM) vs. on-scene decisions and patient outcomes. A HIPPA-compliant technology grid enabled viewing of CT images by the TM team and receiving hospital radiologist.
Results: The MSU effort began in March 2013 and the MSU received Feb 4, 2014. The Houston MSU is a standard 12’ ambulance staffed by a neurologist and registered nurse with stroke expertise, CT tech, and paramedic, with TM connectivity, responding to acute stroke dispatches daily from 8a-6p. All MSU management is standard of care; patient consent is not required except to include patient data. This includes a non-con head CT, point of care labs, blood pressure management and if necessary advanced life support.
Conclusion: The Houston MSU treated its first patient on May16,2014, and is carrying out acute stroke treatment within 10-18 minutes of arrival on location.
Author Disclosures: S. Parker: None. D. Persse: None. E. Noser: None. L. Richardson: None. T. Flanagan: None. J. Grotta: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.