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Your Healthy Family: Full time mobile stroke unit coming to Colorado Springs

Posted at 10:40 AM, Apr 21, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-21 12:40:09-04

Disclaimer: This is sponsored content. All opinions and views are of UCHealth and does not reflect the same of KOAA.

In this Your Healthy Family, we’re sharing some exciting news as we recently learned that  UCHealth is bringing a full-time mobile stroke treatment ambulance to Colorado Springs in the near future.

In 2018 I introduced you to Bob Waddell, a Colorado Springs man who survived a massive stroke with no deficits. One key part of his treatment was the  UCHealth Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit, that at the time was rotating weeks between Aurora and Colorado Springs and happened to be in town to respond and begin Bob’s life-saving diagnosis and treatment, right in his driveway.

Bob told me then, “I’m so lucky that…. (pause) They were in town that day because I know it’s shared between Aurora halftime, so it’s not even always here.”

In 2018 I also spoke with the endovascular neurosurgeon who treated Bob at Memorial Hospital, who told me then, it was a matter of time before Colorado Springs would be getting it’s own mobile stroke treatment unit.

Dr. Shaye Moskowitz, also told me in 2018 that a full-time mobile stroke treatment here in the Springs was a certainty in his mind. “It’s imminent, not because I know that, but because it’s proven itself time and time again.”

In 2018  UCHealth was 1 of only 5 national test locations for amobile stroke treatment unit study, and now those study results are now bearing fruit.

David Ornelas is an RN and the manager  UCHealth's mobile stroke unit, and he says, “What we've shown is that we've actually decreased time to that lytic medication versus traditional EMS by upwards of 30 To 45 minutes. Shaving that time off just goes to show that bringing the care to the patient actually decreases the time because we're able to treat everything that the emergency room does with the patient in their driveway. Our (MSTU) patients have a two-and-a-half times better outcome than traditional routes such as traditional EMS to the hospital.

Not only have stroke treatment outcomes improved, but  UCHealth is bringing a second mobile stroke treatment unit online.

David says, “We're really excited that we have received approval from the health system and from our generous donors in the community so we are getting a full-time dedicated (MTSU) rig for the Colorado Springs region. That will allow us to run full-time instead of every other week. That’s every week, 365 days a year treating stroke patients here in Colorado Springs. That also allows us to take our current (MSTU) ambulance and run it full time in Aurora so we're benefiting 2 communities full time with the second rig.”

As we have reported in the past, what makes these mobile stroke treatment units so expensive, and effective is the onboard CT scanner that can diagnose what type of stroke someone is having so treatment can begin immediately.

David says, “The CT scanner is really what makes the mobile stroke unit possible. We can properly diagnose a stroke because to do so we have to see what's going on inside the head. There are two types of stroke. There's an ischemic stroke, which is the blood clot, and then there's a hemorrhagic stroke and that’s bleeding in the brain. So if I give the TNK or Tenecteplase, that clot-busting medication to a patient that has a bleeding stroke or hemorrhagic stroke, all we're gonna do is compound the issue and make that bleed even worse. In order to properly diagnose a stroke and find the correct treatment, we have to have the CT scanner to take that snapshot of what's going on in the brain and decide where to go from there. When appropriate the treatment starts immediately because we're able to take all of this, (MTSU) to a driveway, the grocery store, library parking lot and we can do everything right there on scene.”:

 UCHealth launched its Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit in 2016; as of September 2021, it was dispatched 1,440 times in Aurora since. In Colorado Springs, there has been a greater need as the unit has been dispatched 2,160 times, according to  UCHealth so it only makes sense to be bringing this second mobile stroke unit online to benefit both communities.

 UCHealth is a proud sponsor of Your Healthy Family