Healthcare Technology

NSW Ambulance spearheads historic stroke care trial


NSW Ambulance is making history as the first emergency service worldwide to trial state-of-the-art stroke care technology in the field.

The innovative initiative aims to revolutionise the assessment and treatment of stroke patients during transport to the hospital.

Minister for Regional Health Ryan Park expressed enthusiasm for this groundbreaking trial, highlighting its potential to expedite stroke diagnosis and treatment, particularly within the crucial ‘golden hour’ following a stroke.

This is a wonderful example of some of the truly collaborative projects taking place across the health system right now, where cutting-edge technology and our highly skilled hospital clinicians and frontline paramedics work together,” Minister Park said.

The Medfield Diagnostics Strokefinder MD100 helmet, a pioneering brain scanner, is at the heart of this trial. Currently deployed by NSW Ambulance paramedics in the Hunter region, this marks the first application of the Strokefinder technology outside of hospital settings.

NSW Ambulance Commissioner Dr Dominic Morgan underscored the collaborative nature of the study, which brings together paramedics, neurologists from John Hunter Hospital and the Hunter Medical Research Institute. The technology, capable of performing multiple brain measurements in just 60 seconds, is complemented by an innovative telehealth app, enabling real-time consultation between paramedics and hospital-based neurology teams.

“When combined with an innovative telehealth app, our paramedics on the ground are able to consult with the neurology team in the hospital to optimise the care and overall outcome for the stroke patient,” Dr Morgan said.

Neurologist Professor Chris Levi, leading the study at John Hunter Hospital, emphasised the importance of swift and accurate stroke diagnosis in improving clinical outcomes. Preliminary data from the trial is promising, with almost all patients undergoing brain scans within an hour of the emergency call.

Minister for Medical Research David Harris praised the trial’s potential to revolutionise stroke care, particularly in regional areas where stroke incidence is higher. He highlighted the remarkable progress made in scanning stroke patients within the critical ‘golden hour’, a crucial window for optimal treatment outcomes.

Jack Di Tommaso, a recent stroke survivor who benefited from the trial, expressed gratitude for the swift response and advanced care he received. “I was scanned by the Strokefinder helmet and examined on a video call direct to the neurologist at hospital This collaboration and quick response was a major factor in making a full recovery.”

With regional Australians facing a higher stroke risk, Minister for the Hunter Yasmin Catley emphasised the significance of conducting the trial in the Hunter New England Health District. She lauded the involvement of John Hunter Hospital clinicians, lauding their contribution to frontline research.

Member for Wallsend Sonia Hornery echoed similar sentiments, praising the dedication of John Hunter Hospital staff in driving impactful research that directly benefits stroke patients.

As the trial progresses, NSW Ambulance, in partnership with various stakeholders, anticipates reporting comprehensive results later this year, marking a significant milestone in stroke care innovation.

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