AcuteCare Telemedicine Blog


Major Advance in Chronic Stroke Treatment

For those who dedicate their professional careers to providing medical care to patients suffering from persistent and chronic disease, treatments that reduce disability and save lives do not come along often enough. And when they do come along, promising new technology and treatments all too often do not deliver on their initial promises after being subjected to critical clinical trials. But stroke experts are reporting a major advance in the treatment of chronic stroke which, after numerous clinic studies and trials, appears to be living up to the initial promises.

Stents similar to the ones used to open clogged heart arteries can now be used to clear a blood clot in the brain, greatly lowering the risk a patient will end up disabled. Most of the 800,000 strokes in the U.S. each year are caused by a blood clot lodged in the brain. Now an Endovascular device, a metal mesh cage called stent, can be inserted thorough a blocked blood vessel to more quickly retrieve and remove a clog. At a recent American Heart Association (AHA) International Stroke Conference in Nashville, TN doctors reported that patients treated with these brain stents were far more likely to be alive and able to live independently three months after their stroke. The treatment was so successful that three studies testing it were stopped early, so it could be offered to more patients. One study also found the death rate was cut almost in half for those given the treatment.

“This is a once-in-a-generation advance in stroke care,” said the head of one study, Dr. Jeffrey Saver, stroke chief at the University of California, Los Angeles. Early endovascular clot removal is improving stroke outcomes beyond those patients who received treatment with thrombolytics alone. “This is a real breakthrough,” agreed Patrick Lyden, MD, director of the stroke program at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, “There’ve been very few people as critical as me about this procedure, but even I have to take a look at the data and say we have to believe this.”

The results shown from the three trials is a major verification of the treatments previously promised benefits. An independent expert, Dr. Lee Schwamm of Massachusetts General Hospital, called it “a real turning point in the field.” For those many patients who can be offered this treatment, “This is the difference between returning home and not returning home.”

The procedure could be offered to patients regardless of whether they’re a candidate for clot-dissolving medicine called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), but the evidence supports the patient getting both treatments if eligible. Stroke care “needs to be completely changed” to make the treatment more widely available, said Dr. Walter Koroshetz, acting director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. “This has taken stroke therapy to the same place that heart attack therapy is now,” he said.

Stent treatment of stroke has a narrow time window for use and is less effective for those who seek help too late. The key to surviving a stroke is recognizing the warning signs including; numbness or weakness on one side, confusion or trouble speaking, visual changes, and trouble walking, and then getting help within three to four hours after the onset of any of these symptoms.



Be a Catalyst in the Fight Against Stroke!

In 1924 when a few dedicated physicians and social workers set out to collectively focus attention and study on cardiovascular disease, the most common treatment for people with heart disease was often total confinement to bed rest. At the time, Paul Dudley White, one of six cardiologists who founded the American Heart Association said, “We were living in a time of almost unbelievable ignorance about heart disease.” Today the American Heart Association (AHA) is the oldest and largest association dedicated to fighting cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The AHA will continue to promote their fight on February 11-15 at the International Stroke Conference in downtown Nashville, TN. The International Stroke Conference, “Connecting the World to Stroke Science,” is the world’s largest meeting of medical professionals dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease.

The conference provides attendees the opportunity to network with more than 4,000 cerebrovascular experts representing over 60 countries; it offers outstanding programming that delivers more than 1,500 compelling presentations in 21 categories emphasizing basic, clinical and translational sciences as they evolve toward a more complete understanding of stroke pathophysiology with the goal to develop more effective prevention and treatment. The Conference will offer numerous informative sessions in clinical, basic science and other specialized topics.

Those who plan on attending can maximize their conference experience by participating in one of the three pre-conference symposia:

The State of the Science Stroke Nursing Symposium

Pre-Conference Symposium I: Stroke in the Real World – Working Man Blues: Challenges in Inpatient Stroke Care

Pre-Conference Symposium II (Students/Trainees/Early Career Professionals): Emerging Trends for Stroke Trials: Biomarkers, Adaptive Trial Design, Repair Trials, and New Endpoints

Registration is now open for this premier educational event dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease. The event will be held at the Music City Center in Downtown Nashville, TN on February 11 thru 15, 2015.

Be a catalyst in the fight against stroke, become a Professional AHA/ASA Member now and save on registration for the 2015 International Stroke Conference.



Acutecare Telemedicine CEO Featured Speaker For American Heart Association’s Stroke Webinar Series

Dr. Matthews Gwynn, CEO of AcuteCare Telemedicine (ACT), appeared as the featured speaker for a webinar series produced by the southeast affiliate of the American Heart Association. The presentation, entitled “Extending Stroke Care through Telemedicine,” was delivered to several hundred hospital administrators and medical staff throughout the southeast and other areas of the U.S.

Dr. Gwynn’s webinar presentation, hosted by Mary Robicheaux, Vice-President of Quality Improvement for the American Heart Association southeast affiliate, focused on the advancement of teleneurology in the treatment of acute stroke patients. Dr. Gwynn discussed the positive effects that teleneurology continues to have on advancing stroke treatment, such as the increased use of the clot-disolving medication tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), as well more advanced neuro-interventional procedures known as thrombectomies, performed by neuro-interventionalists at such world-class facilities like Grady Hospital’s Marcus Stroke and Neuroscience Center in Atlanta, GA.

“Advanced treatments for acute stroke cases are becoming more and more prevalent with the advent of greater technology and treatment procedures,” stated Dr. Gwynn.  “The medical community observed this within the cardiology field over the past couple of decades, and now we are starting to see similar advancements in stroke care via neurocritical care and interventional neuroradiology.

In a continued effort to expand teleneurology in the southeast, Dr. Gwynn and the other neurologists of ACT serve as critical evaluators at partner hospitals of stroke cases that may require advanced interventions such as those discussed in the webinar.

For more information about AcuteCare Telemedicine, visit www.acutecaretelemed.com.