At a recent event, hosted by Roper St. Francis Foundation at the Kiawah Island home of former Genentech executive Renée Black, attendees learned about a new partnership between Roper St. Francis and MUSC, the Lowcountry Stroke Collaborative. Lorraine Lutton, President and CEO of Roper St. Francis, shared information about this initiative along with Dr. Leonardo Morantes and Dr. Erin Sparks. Dr. Morantes is the Stroke Medical Director at Roper St. Francis and Dr. Sparks is a neurohospitalist.
The collaborative utilizes the REACH Health telemedicine platform to conduct patient consultations with remote specialists, document each encounter and centrally analyze and optimize the telestroke program. At the crux of the partnership is the telestroke program that ensures patients are seen and treated quicker than ever. Treatments can be anti-clotting drugs, or- and this is the exciting part– the use of an imaging machine called bi-plane angiography to guide a catheter inserted through the groin to the clot in the brain for extraction. At present, there is one such machine in the ICU Suite at MUSC and one at Roper Hospital; soon there will be another dedicated suite at Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital in West Ashley.
There was an opportunity to hear the personal stories of recent stroke survivors and their family members, some through video and some in-person. These women were slender and otherwise appeared fit and healthy! “Time Is Brain” was the common motto that was shared in the messages heard from Roper St. Francis leaders and physicians. As many as 2 million brain cells can die each minute during a stroke, causing the brain to age up to 4 years per hour. South Carolina has the 7th highest stroke death rate in the country, and stroke is a leading cause of disability. Nationally, the average age of a stroke patient has dropped – now to about 45 years old. The statistics around stroke are alarming, but it is comforting to know that the Lowcountry Stroke Collaborative is expanding around-the-clock access to lifesaving clinical expertise and the most advanced treatment options available for stroke patients.
-Submitted by Carole King