• New ‘telestroke' technology helps save Mayo Clinic stroke patients' brain function

    By: Jenna Bourne , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - New stroke technology at Mayo Clinic is giving Jacksonville-area patients more hope for recovery.

    Doctors at Mayo’s Comprehensive Stroke Center can now use tablets to remotely assess stroke patients while they’re still in the ambulance.

    Before implementing the telestroke technology, stroke patients typically did not see a doctor until they arrived at the emergency room.

    Comprehensive Stroke Center co-director Dr. David Freeman said being able to assess a stroke patient in the ambulance saves precious time.

    Every minute during a stroke, a patient’s brain loses nearly 2 million neurons.

    The faster a patient gets treatment, the more brain function can be saved.

    “We feel that, over a year, this is going to multiply to different outcomes, meaning people walking out of the hospital versus being bedridden,” Freeman said.

    A pilot program at Mayo found telestroke technology allowed patients to get treatment an average of 7.5 minutes sooner, saving about 15 million neurons.

    Stroke survivor Sherry Pinkstaff said she remembers panicking during her ambulance ride.

    “Every second counts. And you just think, I just want to get there and I want to be taken care of. I don’t want there to be another delay,” Pinkstaff said. “If I had been able to sort of have that interface with a physician in the ambulance and understood that the (emergency medical technician) was talking to the physician that I was going to be seeing before I even got here, that would have been very comforting.”

    Nearly 800,000 Americans have a stroke every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s almost the entire population of Jacksonville.

    Next Up: