Australia’s first ever dedicated stroke ambulance is celebrating its second year of saving lives.
In the past two years, the stroke ambulance has been dispatched to more than 2,500 suspected stroke cases, with 1,025 patients being treated and assessed. It has performed almost 480 CT scans and administered 108 patients with clot-dissolving medication for thrombolysis.
When a person experiences a stroke up to 1.9 million brain cells die every minute, so time is of the essence and every second counts.
The purpose built ambulance is crewed by a neurologist, stroke nurse, radiographer and highly trained paramedics and has a CT scanner on board capable of imaging a patient’s brain on the spot, and detecting the type of stroke they are having. This means that patients can be assessed and treated before they arrive at hospital.
The stroke ambulance has treated one in seven thrombolysis patients within the first 60 minutes of stroke onset when symptoms were identified early. For one in 12 of these patients, it would’ve been too late for treatment if not for the stroke ambulance.
The stroke ambulance operates within a 20 kilometres radius of its base at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, covering a population of about 1.7 million people.