‘Emergency Room on Wheels’ coming for Valley stroke victims

Jun 15, 2017, 4:40 AM

(Photo courtesy Barrow Neurological Institute)...

(Photo courtesy Barrow Neurological Institute)

(Photo courtesy Barrow Neurological Institute)

PHOENIX — Minutes matter for stroke victims.

The Barrow Neurological Institute and Phoenix Fire partnered to provide an Emergency Stroke Treatment Unit to provide faster response times when treating stroke patients.

“This is basically an emergency room on wheels for stroke patients,” said Dr. Michael Waters, director of the Stroke Program at Barrow Neurological Institute. “We have the ability to go on-scene and gather a patient and do a quick analysis, diagnosis and initiate treatment right at the curbside.”

Currently, less than six percent of individuals suffering a stroke receive treatment within the recommended four-and-a-half hour time frame. And the chances of a good outcome for stroke victims decrease 10 percent every 30 minutes until blood flow is restored to the brain.

“This very unique vehicle actually has a portable CT scanner in it,” Waters said. “And it has nurses on board, a CT tech on board, and a telemedicine connection to a vascular neurologist who is monitoring everything remotely.”

Phoenix Fire Chief Kara Kalkbrenner said normally it can take as many as six hours for a person suffering from a stroke to receive those tests and get treatment by the time they get to the emergency room.

But now instead of waiting for first responders to get a stroke victim to the hospital, through the emergency for scans and receive treatment, Kalkbrenner said this unit will be with first responders.

“Responding to the scene and getting a quick identification that it truly is a stroke,” she said.  “As well getting the medication on board to get rid of the signs and symptoms and take care of the patient.”

The necessary drug is an anticoagulant medication.

“To help a patient start the recovery process once the brain is blocked,” she said. “Once you get the tPA (tissue plasminogen activator) on board, the blood can start perfusing again. Now they can breathe you don’t have permanent brain damage.”

Phoenix Fire responds to 8,000 CVA or stroke calls a year, she said.

Less than one percent of stroke patients receive treatment within an hour according to Barrow Neurological Institute.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Store front of The Home Depot...

Man indicted for organized retail crime, shoplifting throughout the Valley

A 31-year-old man was indicted for 42 counts of organized retail crime and shoplifting throughout Maricopa County, authorities said Friday.

18 minutes ago

(Pixabay Photo)...

Westbound lanes of Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway reopen in Tempe after crash

The westbound lanes of the Loop 202 Red Mountain Freeway were reopened in Tempe after a crash near Scottsdale Road on Saturday afternoon.

4 hours ago

Stock image of backyard swimming pool. A 2-year-old boy was hospitalized but breathing after a drow...

Scottsdale to offer free swimming lessons throughout August

As a nod to Arizona Drowning Impact Awareness Month, Scottsdale plans to waive enrollment fees for swim lessons throughout August.

6 hours ago

People appealing immigration proposal inside Arizona State Capitol in Phoenix...

Associated Press

Legal fight continues with appeals over proposed immigration initiative for Arizona Nov. 5 ballot

The fight to keep a proposed border initiative off Arizona’s Nov. 5 ballot is not over yet. Immigrant advocates kept the issue alive this week by filing notice to the state Supreme Court that they will appeal the judge’s ruling.

7 hours ago

(Phoenix Police Department photo)...

Police investigating crash that killed motorcyclist at intersection in west Phoenix

The Phoenix Police Department is investigating a deadly crash between a motorcycle and another vehicle that happened on Thursday afternoon.

9 hours ago

mother of Mercedes Vega shares new details...

Serena O'Sullivan

Mother of Tempe victim in unsolved murder wonders if robbery suspect was involved

The mother of Mercedes Vega, a woman at the center of an unsolved murder case, joined KTAR News 92.3 FM's The Chris and Show Show this week.

11 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.



Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

‘Emergency Room on Wheels’ coming for Valley stroke victims