Stony Brook Medicine Mobile Stroke Unit Allows For Emergency Treatment Without Hospital Visit

Emily Cappiello
Thursday, April 16, 2020

Stony Brook, NY, April 16, 2020— While hospitals continue to fill up with patients requiring medical addition due to COVID-19, there are other medical emergencies, like strokes, that require urgent medical care. To help relieve the burden on hospitals while enabling patients to get the care they urgently need, Stony Brook University’s Mobile Stroke Unit is continuing to stay fully operational during this time. 

The Mobile Stroke Units are available seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., which is the window of time when most stroke calls are received. The specially-equipped ambulances are strategically based at exits 57 and 68 on the LIE, and will take calls within 10 miles of their base, which should ensure response times of 20 minutes or less. 

Founded by a team led by Stony Brook Medicine’s Dr. David Fiorella, Director of the Stony Brook Cerebrovascular Center, Co-Director of the Stony Brook Cerebrovascular and Comprehensive Stroke Center, and Professor of Neurosurgery and Radiology, these Mobile Stroke Units enable stroke patients to be triaged and treated in the field, wherever the patient is located. Clinicians can administer IV TPa, a medication that minimizes brain injury, at any remote location and then immediately transport the patient to the closest appropriate care facility, where physicians can initiate further care.

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

Dr. David Fiorella explained that when a patient is having a stroke, time is of the essence. The Mobile Stroke Units allows these patients to be diagnosed urgently and then placed in a hospital setting that is appropriate for their care. 

“Prior to the Mobile Stroke Units, many of the patients that we would get at Stony Brook were transferred from other hospitals. The mobile stroke unit really helps this in tremendous ways for these patients, as it saves time,” said Fiorella during his episode of Stony Brook University's "Beyond The Expected" podcast.  

To hear more about the Mobile Stroke Unit, advancements in telehealth and telemedicine, and how Stony Brook Medicine is responding to the Coronavirus pandemic, listen to the “Beyond The Expected” podcast. It can be found on your preferred listening platform.