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Eighty percent (80%) of strokes are ischemic strokes - a condition in which a blood clot, formed in another part of the body, travels to a smaller blood vessel in the brain and becomes lodged, blocking the blood flow to that area.
One form of treatment is to administer Tissue Plasminogen Activator (tPA), a clot busting drug that can greatly reduce the disability resulting from a stroke. Stroke patients must get to the hospital quickly as tPA must be administered within 4.5 hours of symptom onset.
A telemedicine link using videoconferencing and CT image sharing technology, allows stroke specialists from Comprehensive Stroke Centres in Calgary and Edmonton to examine patients at designated Primary Stroke Centres (remote hospitals miles away) to help diagnose the patient's condition and recommend a plan of care. Hospitals can deliver acute stroke care for patients without physically transferring the patient for an exam.
The Alberta Provincial Stroke Strategy Telestroke Working Group is working with regions to ensure the technology and processes are in place to allow telestroke consultations to occur between primary and comprehensive stroke centres. In addition to use in the emergency room, telemedicine technology will also be used to link inpatient acute care units and rehabilitation centres within the province to facilitate staff education/mentoring and outreach clinical consultation.