The South Island’s new telestroke service has been launched between the West Coast and Christchurch, giving more people faster access to potentially life-saving acute stroke treatment.
Using dedicated video-conferencing and CT image technology, the telestroke service enables neurologists and stroke specialists to provide advice and support via video link to doctors treating stroke patients in smaller centres and after hours.
Dr Teddy Wu, one of six neurologists at Christchurch Hospital, says the service has transformed stroke care. “This is real-time care – it’s like watching a movie and giving instructions. While we can’t touch the patient, we can ask the doctor to examine them on our behalf. Potentially, one of the key aspects is deciding whether we need to fly them to Christchurch Hospital for a clot removal procedure. What this means is, more people who experience paralysis from a major stroke will be able to walk out of hospital within a few days.”