Northland DHB Telestroke
Video Conference (Stock Image)
After hours acute Stroke service
A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is restricted or stops altogether, the brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen or nutrients and brain cells start to die off. Some people recover from the condition, but for others it can be life threatening or they can be left with permanent damage affecting their speech, mobility, eyesight or limbs.
Accurate, fast diagnosis and treatment is crucial to the patient’s outcome. One treatment is rapid administration of stroke thrombolysis (‘clot buster’) to patients who meet eligibility criteria within 4.5 hours of symptom onset. This is available in all New Zealand DHBs however there are limited stroke experts at many regional centres to support 24/7 local services.
The benefits of assessing patients and providing thrombolysis using telemedicine, is currently being planned. NDHB is participating in that work with experienced neurologists based at Whangarei Hospital providing after-hours expertise and guidance to clinical teams managing these acute patients in the district hospitals.
This modern technology means better access to time-critical therapies for patients living in rural areas with access only to small district hospitals. It is highly relevant to reducing health care inequities due to the high rate of stroke among Māori patients, a group over-represented among the population of Northland.