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Videoconferencing can increase patient access to stroke specialists
Date:5/11/2009

High-quality videoconferencing can increase patient access to stroke specialists, especially in rural or other underserved areas; and a transient ischemic attack (TIA), once known as a "mini" or "warning" stroke, should be treated with the same urgency as a full-blown stroke, according to two separate scientific statements and a policy statement published today in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

Telemedicine Statement Highlights:

A stroke exam via videoconferencing known as telemedicine or telestroke is as effective as a bedside exam. The statement recommends establishing systems to support the widespread use of telestroke, including having Medicare cover this service. Telemedicine for stroke A new scientific statement says a remote exam using high-quality videoconferencing equipment is as effective as a bedside stroke evaluation.

Physicians must quickly evaluate stroke patients to determine if they're eligible for time-sensitive treatment such as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) that can save brain function and reduce disability. Stroke and brain imaging specialists are often required to perform the evaluation. However, the United States has only an average of four neurologists per 100,000 people, and not all of them specialize in stroke, according to the statement.

Telemedicine, or telestroke, uses interactive videoconferencing via webcams connected to a TV or computer screen, which allows the patient, family and the bedside and distant healthcare providers to see and hear each other in full color and in real time.

Telestroke is coupled with teleradiology, which allows remote review of brain images. This technology can broaden the reach of neurologists in a cost-effective and time-efficient manner.

"Telemedicine is an effective avenue to eliminate disparities in access to acute stroke care, erasing the inequities introduced by geography, income or social circumstan
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Contact: Maggie Francis
maggie.francis@heart.org
214-706-1382
American Heart Association
Source:Eurekalert

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