The UCLA Telestroke Network Partner Program gives Emergency Departments at community hospitals the opportunity for direct, immediate video consultation with stroke neurology experts at the UCLA Stroke Center, one of the world's leading stroke treatment centers. UCLA neurologists are available to provide collaborative care recommendations to emergency physicians on patients with acute stroke, transient ischemic attack (TIA), and stroke-like conditions. The UCLA team works in collaboration with local neurologists, covering time periods when local specialists are not available, up to 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
This program is a major developmental advance of the well-established UCLA Stroke Hotline in which UCLA has been working with emergency physicians and neurologists throughout L.A. County and beyond to provide the best medical care to acute stroke patients for over a decade.
Stroke is the third-leading cause of death and the leading cause of serious, longterm disability in the United States. It is a highly treatable emergency condition, but approved treatment to restore blood flow is most effective when administered as soon as possible after hospital arrival by physicians skilled in emergency anagement of cerebrovascular conditions.
Most strokes are ischemic strokes - the result of a blood clot that has traveled from elsewhere in the body and become lodged in a blood vessel in the brain, blocking blood flow. Acute stroke is best managed by neurologists and emergency physicians working closely in tandem.
Tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), a thrombolytic (clot-busting) agent, is the only drug currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the acute treatment of ischemic stroke. When used appropriately, tPA can dissolve the clot and restore blood flow, improving the final outcome in one of every three patients treated. Because tPA carries a small but significant risk of complications, including bleeding into the brain, the decision to use tPA requires resources that some hospitals do not have available at all times.
When a possible acute stroke patient is evaluated in a network partner hospital and telestroke consultation is desired, the emergency physician contacts the UCLA telestroke consult hotline. Within 15 minutes, a UCLA stroke neurologist can be interviewing and counseling the patient and family and performing the stroke-specific neurologic exam through a two-way video connection. The UCLA stroke specialist can also view local CT and other diagnostic images as needed.
Based on this information, the UCLA physician can offer a definitive expert opinion on the correct diagnosis and most advisable treatment plan. Management recommendations may include supportive care, additional diagnostic tests, the use of tPA, or, if available, use of FDA-approved acute endovascular interventions, such as mechanical clot retrieval (Merci Retrieval System) or clot aspiration (Penumbra System). A consultation report is immediately completed by the UCLA neurologist and entered into the patient's local medical record. Read more about Our Services.
The UCLA Stroke Center is recognized as a world-leader in the management of cerebral vascular disease. UCLA was the first center certified as a Primary Stroke Center in Los Angeles County by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and is the only center in Los Angeles County unded by the National Institutes of Health to perform translational research to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic approaches to stroke care. The UCLA Sroke Center provides state-of-the-art care for a full range of central nervous system vascular disorders, including ischemic stroke, TIA, carotid stenosis, intracranial vascular stenosis, stroke in the young, intracerebral hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and moyamoya disease. Network partner institutions reap the full benefit of UCLA's reputation in this demanding field of medicine.