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Robot will help treat stroke patients in East Tennessee

tele stroke robot

KNOXVILLE -- Stroke patients in East Tennessee can now benefit from a new "tele-stroke" robot regardless of their location throughout the region. Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center has introduced the unique robot which provides an early consultation with the hospital's stroke experts.

The robot has a video screen "face" which allows stroke patients to receive consults from Fort Sanders' neurologists. A tele-stroke network gives physicians in surrounding hospitals the ability to use live Web video streaming to consult with Fort Sanders Stroke Center neurologists as soon as a patient arrives at the community hospital. The neurologist will be able to remotely review patient information and examine and talk with the patient, family members and the local clinicians to help determine the best course of treatment, all at the patient's bedside.

An accurate diagnosis is critical.

"In the case of a stroke, the clock starts with the onset of symptoms. As time ticks by, our treatment options become more limited and patients can lose more and more functionality," said neuro-interventional radiologist Dr. Keith Woodward. "With the addition of this tele-medicine tool, we can advise surrounding emergency departments on how best to treat their stroke patients or to have them transported to Fort Sanders for advanced care."

Fort Sanders is a Stroke Center of Excellence, and the only facility in the region to hold both a Primary Stroke Center certification from the Joint Commission and three separate stroke accreditations from CARF (the Commission on the Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities). Fort Sanders is well-known for its stroke expertise. Board-certified neurologists, neurosurgeons, and neuro-interventionalists staff the facility and provide excellent patient care.

"We treat strokes the way no one else in our region can," said Fort Sanders President Keith Altshuler. "From diagnosis to state-of-the-art treatment, research and rehabilitation, our focus is to minimize the long-term physical impact of stroke."

The addition of this technology will dramatically improve the outcome for stroke patients living in Knoxville's surrounding communities.

"If we can share our expertise in real time to ensure appropriate diagnosis and treatments, we can eliminate unneeded travel time to transfer patients between rural communities and Knoxville," Altshuler added.

Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center has a team of experts available to treat patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The Stroke Team includes neurologists, neurosurgeons, neurointerventional radiologists, nurses and therapists who work to quickly diagnose patients and use the most technically advanced methods available to remove clots, repair broken arteries that cause strokes, and restore blood flow to the brain.

Published February 1, 2012

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