First mobile stroke unit in nation completed



While prescriptions to medications such as Clopidogrel are important factors in stroke prevention, there is no telling when and where a blood clot in the brain can erupt.

While prescriptions to medications such as Clopidogrel are important factors in stroke prevention, there is no telling when and where a blood clot in the brain can erupt. As nearly 800,000 strokes are suffered by Americans every year, recognizing symptoms and seeking immediate medical help continue to become more crucial. Fortunately, new innovation efforts could potentially provide more efficient relief when it comes to transferring stroke victims to intensive care.   

Colleagues from the The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston have recently completed building the first official mobile stroke unit in the nation. The automobile is designed like an ambulance, but it has a number of specific features created in the interior of the vehicle catered toward immediate treatment of someone suffering a stroke.

The mobile stroke unit has a computed tomography scanner that can be utilized by doctors to understand whether the stroke occurring is being caused by a blood clot, and if so, a clot-buster tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) can be used to properly treat the thrombus. The clot-buster tPA is the only FDA-approved source of treatment for a ischemic stroke, the most popular kind of blood clot in which blood vessels supplying blood to the brain become obstructed.

Dr. James C. Grotta, a director of stroke research at the Memorial Hermann Texas Medical Center and the director behind the mobile stroke unit, first thought of the idea for the vehicle after witnessing a similar unit in Germany and presented the idea to the University of Texas Health Development Board.

"It typically takes roughly an hour once a stroke patient arrives in the emergency room to receive treatment," Grotta said in a statement. "So if we can actually put the emergency room in the ambulance and take the CT scanner to the patient, we could treat the patient at the scene with the medication and save that hour. That hour could mean saving 120 million brain cells."

Recognizing stroke symptoms
One of the biggest reasons for mortality rates with stroke victims is due to failure to quickly and effectively call for help. There are four primary factors that can mean someone is having a stroke, and they can be remembered in the acronym FAST:

  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Time to call 911

A prescription for Clopidogrel is also a key way to help prevent side effects of stroke, and if you ever need to buy Clopidogrel, it is always available at a Canadian online pharmacy to refill your prescription.