When someone has a stroke, the timing of intervention can make the difference
between life or death and debilitating loss of brain function. Studies
have shown that prompt access to a neurologist reduces mortality or the
long-term disabling effects of a stroke.
To ensure round-the-clock stroke coverage is available to South Bay patients,
Torrance Memorial Medical Center’s
Lundquist Cardiovascular Institute has collaborated with Cedars- Sinai Medical Center to develop a Telestroke
program to offer 24/7 access to stroke specialists and expedite the transfer
of patients when higher-level intervention is needed.
The program’s launch at Torrance Memorial is made possible by a $250,000
gift to the Torrance Memorial Foundation from Francesca and Doug Deaver
of Redondo Beach.
“This partnership will facilitate instant collaboration between health
care providers and stroke neurologists to produce a high accuracy diagnosis
and result in th most effective treatment,” says
Eric Nakkim, MD, co-medical director, Lundquist Emergency Department, Torrance Memorial.
“Research shows that Telestroke improves outcomes, reduces patient
risks, decreases ambulance transport, shortens hospital stays, andlowerscoststhroughmoretimely
and accurate diagnosis.”
“Through Telestroke, the videoconferencing technology will enable
specialists at Cedars-Sinai to communicate with Torrance Memorial’s
ER team to examine the patient, interpret brain images, confirm the diagnosis
and provide recommendations, just as if they were at the bedside,” says
Bernard Ullman, MD, medical director of the Stroke Program at Torrance Memorial. “We
are pleased to offer this collaboration to our community.”
The evaluating physician will recommend in the case of ischemic stroke
(which occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying
blood to the brain) whether tissue plasminogen activator (TPA), a clot-busting
medication, is needed. According to the American Heart Association, each
15-minute span between the onset of ischemic stroke (the cause of nine
out of 10 strokes) and the delivery of TPA is an average of one month
of disability-free life lost for that patient. Immediate intervention
in the case of hemorrhage stroke is just as critical.
In 2015, neurologists
Jeffrey Kim, MD, and
Ben Tseng, MD, joined the
Torrance Memorial Physician Network to provide rapid daytime access to the more than 450 stroke patients who enter
Torrance Memorial’s Emergency Department each year. In the event neither doctor is immediately accessible at bedside,
one of four Cedars-Sinai neurologists: Patrick Lyden, MD, Shlee S. Song,
MD, Konrad Schlick, MD, or Mani Nezhad, MD, are available to instantly
assess the patient via two- way audiovisual communication.
“Strokes can occur at any time and it is important to have access
to urgent neurologic evaluations by experts that can help decide whether
patients are eligible for TPA or other interventions as quickly as possible.
We’ve all seen the data and patients have a greater chance for better
outcomes and independence with early treatment,” says Dr. Song.
“Time is brain.”
The Deavers’ gift helps bring to Torrance Memorial the RP- Lite®,
Mobile Remote includes a camera, monitor and laptop station affixed to
a stand on wheels. Its patented design facilitates immersive two-way audiovisual
communication; when positioned next to the bed, the RP-Lite’s design
allows a camera and microphone to engage the patient and doctor in face-to-face
interactions. The system, used in combination with InTouch Health’s
work-flow solution and cloud connectivity, maximizes the real-time interactivity
and instant transport of lifesaving information.
“As a proud resident of the South Bay, I am aware of how fortunate
I am to have had opportunities in business and to raise a family in this
community,” says Francesca Deaver. “My father was active in
his support of our community hospital, Torrance Memorial, which has become
a thriving medical center. Our children and grandchildren were also born
there. Our personal philosophy is simple; we have a responsibility to
do what we are able for our community at all times. We feel fortunate
and humble to be a part of the legacy of Torrance Memorial.