Use of Telemedicine and Helicopter Transport to Improve Stroke Care in Remote Locations

  • Mihaela Saler
  • Jeffrey A. Switzer
  • David C. HessEmail author
Cerebrovascular Disease and Stroke

Opinion statement

Intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator is the only medication approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment of acute stoke. Despite established efficacy, less than 3% of stroke patients receive treatment, and that number is even smaller for patients living in remote locations. This is in part due to a lack of neurologists and stroke specialists in these rural communities. The traditional model of “ship and drip” wastes crucial time, resulting in delays or loss of treatment. In this review, we discuss strategies to overcome geographic disparities in stroke care and improve acute treatment in remote locations. Helicopter transport from field to stroke center is one option to rapidly deliver patients to stroke centers. However, geography, weather, and unnecessary transport are potential drawbacks. Alternatively, “telestroke” facilitates remote evaluation of acute stroke patients via an audiovisual link and transmission of computerized tomography images. Despite the physical separation, stroke specialists are able to examine patients, review brain imaging and make correct treatment decisions; transfer to a stroke center can then be performed as appropriate. A cost-benefit analysis of telestroke is needed, although the recent proliferation of telestroke networks suggests an economic asset to some hospital systems.


Acute Stroke Emergency Medical Service Stroke Care Stroke Center Basilar Artery Occlusion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Mihaela Saler and Jeffrey A. Switzer and have no potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article. David C. Hess is a cofounder of REACH CALL, Inc, has founder’s equity in REACH CALL, Inc, and is on the Board of Directors of REACH CALL, Inc.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mihaela Saler
    • 1
  • Jeffrey A. Switzer
    • 1
  • David C. Hess
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyGeorgia Health Sciences UniversityAugustaUSA

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