With Brain Awareness Week (13–19 March) approaching, the Get Ahead of Stroke campaign has announced it is debuting new online resources for emergency medical service (EMS) providers, enabling them to assist stroke patients with greater efficiency and ease.
As a Get Ahead of Stroke campaign press release notes, EMS is critical in providing patients with the best chance to survive and live without disability after a stroke—ensuring that treatment does not have to wait until a patient arrives at the hospital, as well as transporting them to a centre where they can receive potentially life-saving thrombectomy procedures.
“An EMS provider’s role in the triage and transport of stroke patients is absolutely crucial to saving patients from death and disability,” said Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery (SNIS) president J Mocco (Mount Sinai, New York, USA). “During this Brain Awareness Week, we want to shine a spotlight on the lifesaving work that EMS does every day of the year, every hour of the day. Stroke surgeons could not do what we do without their tremendous efforts. We hope these new EMS resources will further their great work.”
Getting a stroke patient to the proper care facility is crucial, and EMS are the best equipped to ensure this happens, the release states. Once a patient is assessed, EMS run a series of tests called ‘stroke scales’. By measuring a patient’s ability to squeeze and release a hand, or make facial expressions—which are physical indicators of an emergent large vessel occlusion (LVO) or severe stroke—these scales help first responders determine the level of care that is commensurate with the severity of the stroke. From here, they can determine the best intermediate treatment while transporting the patient to the proper facility.
Get Ahead of Stroke created the “Stroke Scales For EMS” mobile app to help EMS identify stroke severity and emergent LVO in emergency situations. The app includes the LAMS, RACE, C-STAT, MEND, FAST-ED and VAN stroke scales, and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play.
In addition, the campaign has created a video, titled “Five Things EMS Should Know”, that identifies the important role EMS play in ensuring stroke patients are triaged to the appropriate hospital based on their stroke severity. The video can be viewed online here.