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Upson's Tele-Stroke Team

Upson Introduces Tele-Stroke

If you or someone you know has a stroke, faster care can mean a better outcome. That’s why Upson is now in partnership with some of Atlanta’s top neurologists, providing local access to board certified stroke specialists 24 hours a day.

“Fast matters,” Upson’s Chief of Staff and Emergency Room Medical Director Dr. Marchetti says. " Just like time can mean muscle for an acute MI, time is tissue for a stroke, and the standard of care for stroke patients is to receive treatment as fast as possible and stay put."

Through a telestroke consultation at Upson, an ER physician will examine you. If an acute stroke is suspected, he or she will activate the stroke telemedicine dedicated line, connecting Upson to Atlanta-based neurologists 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

After you have a CT scan at Upson, the stroke neurologist performs a live, real-time audiovisual consultation. The neurologist will discuss your medical history and review your test results. The neurologist evaluates you and works with your doctor to determine the most appropriate treatment.

Having a prompt evaluation increases the possibility that clot-dissolving therapies (thrombolytics) can be delivered in time to reduce stroke-related disability. To be effective, clot-dissolving therapies must be given within three to four and a half hours after you experience stroke symptoms.

Dr. Marchetti says the local connection to some of Atlanta’s top stroke specialists will improve patient outcomes for stroke victims and reduce transfers to another facility. “Upson can now take care of our own in the event of a stroke,” he said.

The stroke specialists include Dr. Matthews Gwynn, who serves as chief of Neurology at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta; Dr. Keith Sanders who is director of St. Joseph’s Stroke Center; Dr. James Kiely, who directs the neurophysiology labs at St. Joseph’s and Northside hospitals; and Dr. Lisa Johnston, who directs Northside’s Sleep Lab.

Upson has used the new Tele-Stroke system eight times since it debuted in October, and two of those patients received the clot-dissolving therapy, TPA, on time and had positive outcomes.

CEO David Castleberry says, “Nobody should have to drive by their local hospital if they think they are having a stroke. This means you can receive the most effective treatments right in Thomaston, near your family and friends.”