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SSM Health Medical Minute: New approach to stroke could save lives

Last month, the American Heart Association released a new approach to stroke treatment that could save lives. When you have a stroke, call 911. Previously, those EMS providers would go to the closest hospital. Now, with new guidelines from the AHA, the EMS providers who arrive will have a different approach.

Using a severity-based algorithm, the idea is for EMS to identify in the field the severity of the stroke to ensure patients are taken to the right hospital – even if it’s not the closest one. Not all hospitals provide the technology to remove clots from the brain interventionally, like Dr. Charles Callison, neurointerventionalist at SSM Heath De Paul Hospital. In fact, SSM Health De Paul Hospital is one of a few hospitals in the St. Louis region that has been designated a Level 1 stroke center with specialized surgeons and resources for the most complex stroke patients.

When seconds count, time is of the essence, and transferring a patient from one hospital to another is a waste of time and mean a lot of brain tissue being lost. These new guidelines allow EMS to determine the best hospital with the most resources to take a stroke patient.

To find out more about stroke, click here.