UCI Health telestroke program extends expert stroke care to patients miles away

Neurologists provide consults for 226 Corona Regional Medical Center patients

May 17, 2016

The UCI Health telemedicine stroke program in its first year of operation at Corona Regional Medical Center provided acute stroke therapy to 62 area residents who were diagnosed via a two-way videoconferencing and image sharing system, and transferred to UC Irvine Medical Center for high-level care.

UCI Health stroke neurologists consulted on 226 patients who went to the Corona Regional emergency department with stroke-like symptoms.

“The first six hours are critical in stroke care because the faster a patient receives proper treatment for stroke, the better the chances for recovery,” said Dr. Wengui Yu, director of the UCI Health Comprehensive Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center. “The telestroke program enables us to extend our reach beyond the walls of the stroke center in a way that was not possible before. The program’s success demonstrates how advanced technology can be used to enhance patient care, increase survival rates and improve patient outcomes.”

Norco resident Maria Ortiz illustrates the power of the Corona Regional – UCI Health program.

When her husband George Ortiz rushed into the emergency room where she was taken after suffering a stroke, he saw Maria surrounded by doctors and nurses. But the calm voice he heard providing instructions about his wife’s treatment came from a video monitor. George looked up to see UCI Health vascular neurologist Dr. Ali Razmara, who is 25 miles away.

The doctor explained that a blood clot in Maria’s brain caused the stroke, and that she needed to be given the clot-busting drug tPA before she being airlifted from Corona Regional Medical Center to UC Irvine Medical Center for advanced care.

When it comes to stroke treatment, many community hospitals are not equipped to deliver the high-level specialized care found at a comprehensive stroke center like UC Irvine. Before the telestroke program, Maria would not have received tPA until she was transported to a stroke center, potentially losing precious time.

The Joint Commission’s comprehensive stroke center designation confirms that UCI Health offers the state-of-the-art infrastructure, staff and training to receive and treat patients with the most complex strokes. Our multidisciplinary team includes neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuro-intensive care specialists and nurses who have earned advanced stroke care certification.

“The telestroke program leverages patient and physician access to the resources and expertise of a comprehensive stroke center in a cost-effective, efficient way,” Yu said. “We can now provide diagnostic expertise and order life-saving treatment for patients at their community hospital, and consult with their physicians throughout diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation.”

UCI Health comprises the clinical, medical education and research enterprises of the University of California, Irvine. Patients can access UCI Health at physician offices throughout Orange County and at its main campus, UC Irvine Medical Center in Orange, Calif., a 411-bed acute care hospital that provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, and behavioral health and rehabilitation services. U.S. News & World Report has listed it among America’s Best Hospitals for 15 consecutive years. UC Irvine Medical Center features Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program, Level I trauma center and Level II pediatric trauma center, and it is the primary teaching hospital for the UC Irvine School of Medicine. UCI Health serves a region of more than 3 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

About the University of California, Irvine: Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.


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