More than 1000 patients benefit from emergency stroke care



    TORONTO, June 24 /CNW/ - Thanks to the existence of a Telestroke program
which began in Ontario in 2002, more than 1000 patients who have experienced a
stroke have survived its debilitating efforts using this novel treatment
model.
    An emergency telemedicine application supported by the Ontario
Telemedicine Network (OTN), Telestroke uses live, two-way television and
digital image transfer to "connect" local stroke patients and their emergency
physicians with remote neurologists located at larger urban health care
facilities to obtain urgent diagnosis and management advice.
    Telestroke neurologists can even recommend the administration of the
clot-busting drug t-PA, a highly effective stroke treatment that, if used
within the first three to four hours of the onset of a hyper acute stroke, may
dramatically reduce its debilitating effects.
    "Telestroke makes it possible for a neurologist to be at the patient's
bedside - even when that patient is hundreds of miles away - and assist the
local physician with determining the most effective therapy possible," says
Dr. Frank Silver, Medical Director, Toronto West Stroke Network and Medical
Director, OTN Telestroke Program. "Without Telestroke, these patients would
not have access to this effective treatment."
    "16,000 people experience a stroke in Ontario each year, at a cost to the
economy of $1B in medical and other stroke-related costs," notes Dr. Ed Brown,
OTN's Chief Executive Officer. "Telestroke not only provides access to a
standard of care for patients who currently don't have access to it, but also
makes more effective and efficient use of scarce health human resources by
providing support for physicians in smaller communities to assess and treat
these patients."
    Telestroke is available in Brantford, Niagara, Kenora, North Bay, Oshawa,
Pembroke, Peterborough, Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, and Timmins. Of the 1049
patients assessed in the Telestroke program to date, 278 patients received
t-PA.

    The Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN) is an independent, not-for-profit
organization funded by the Government of Ontario. "Telemedicine" (TM) is the
provision of interactive health care using modern telecommunications
technologies. Using two-way videoconferencing systems and tele-diagnostic
instruments OTN helps deliver clinical care and professional education among
health care providers and patients. www.otn.ca





For further information:

For further information: Rhona Lahey, Communications and Government
Relations, Ontario Telemedicine Network, (613) 867-9498 (cell), rlahey@otn.ca


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