A REVOLUTIONARY mobile stroke unit that could save thousands of patients from death or disability is to be tested by NHS doctors.
Professor Iris Grunwald, of Southend Hospital, Essex, pioneered a similar scheme while working in Germany and has now brought the mobile stroke unit to the UK.
Moments after the ambulance arrives, a patient’s head can be placed in a scanner.
Seconds later it gives readings of any clot in the brain, and drugs can then be delivered.
This is often caused by delays in getting them to hospital by ambulance, delays in scanning to identify a clot at a non-specialist centre and then in the decision to treat.
Prof Grunwald, who also works at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, has been given a mobile stroke unit ambulance from Germany for the three-month study, which is set to start at the end of the month.
She said: “if you are lucky to live in a major city then you may well get very rapid care but our logic is to cut out the hospital and take the CT scanner to the patient.
The mobile unit will be linked to Southend Hospital, so images can be transmitted back for a second opinion.
Its main aim is to treat the blood clot type of stroke but even if a patient has one caused by a burst blood vessel, they can administer drugs to reduce damage and the risk of death before arrival at hospital.
Prof Grunwald added: “We think we will be able to replicate in Essex the results we achieved in Germany and results from mobile units in other countries.
“If that happens, maybe the NHS can look at setting up a national network of mobile stroke units, so patients outside urban areas get rapid treatment.”