A stroke is often devastating. It can leave you with permanent disability. You may partially recover, but it could take months or years of physical therapy. Quick treatment is a critical factor when it comes to surviving a stroke with the least amount of permanent damage. It is difficult to get a quick diagnosis and timely treatment unless you live near a major medical center. Fortunately, there is a solution to this problem. With today's technology, it is possible for a neurologist in a major hospital to examine and treat you even when you're in a small community hospital miles away. TeleStroke is an example of a service designed to make remote treatment like this possible. Here is an overview of how it works.

Utilizing Modern Technology For Medicine

For remote medicine to work, there has to be fast and stable technology in place that allows for real time communication and the ability to transmit high resolution images. This shouldn't be a problem, even in remote areas, since high speed internet connections have become the norm. In addition to the internet connection, the system requires teleconferencing ability and the ability to transfer hospital files such as blood work results and imaging exams.

Making A Remote Diagnosis

While making a general stroke diagnosis isn't difficult for doctors, the part that requires a trained neurologist is determining the cause of the stroke, the extent of the damage, and the suitability for certain kinds of treatment. In order to make the proper diagnosis, the neurologist at the remote hospital has to see brain scan images. These can be immediately uploaded and viewed within minutes. During this time, the doctors at both hospitals can discuss your symptoms and condition. With a digital copy of your hospital record and input from doctors caring for you, the remote neurologist can then make a diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan that is then able to be carried out within the first few critical hours of having a stroke.

Treating Early Is The Key To Recovery

By looking at brain scans, a neurologist can tell if you are a good match for a specific treatment. One treatments in particular busts up clots in the brain. If this is given in the early hours of a stroke, the chances of permanent brain damage are greatly reduced since the clot is dissolved before it can do a lot of damage. Without the benefit of a consulting neurologist and quick telemedicine, the hospital may waste time trying other forms of treatment while irreversible brain damage is underway. When a small community hospital has access to a TeleStroke program, they can use the latest forms of stroke treatment that would otherwise only be available in large medical centers thanks to the ability to teleconference in real time with an experienced specialist.

If strokes run in your family, you may live in fear of having one some day. While you hope it never happens, it should give you peace of mind knowing technology and medicine have merged to offer you the greatest chance of quick treatment and a successful recovery even if you live in a small city. Your hospital won't have to waste time transferring you to a larger city, or waste precious time coming up with a treatment plan when all they have to do is log into a telemedicine application and have instant access to a qualified specialist and their wealth of knowledge.