By Scott Koss, MD
It’s an exciting time for medical professionals who treat stroke and their patients. A new, standout technology is allowing for significantly shorter time to diagnose and treat emergency stroke patients.
The technology is called RAPID CTP. It’s a software program that uses artificial intelligence to dramatically speed up advanced CT perfusion image processing, digital communication between medical professionals, and time to treatment.
Most strokes result from a clot that blocks the brain’s supply of blood and oxygen. For these strokes – called ischemic strokes – every minute counts. In most cases, the earlier a life-threatening blockage can be broken up or removed, the better the patient outcome.
RAPID CT perfusion software is the most advanced brain imaging software available for identifying treatment options for stroke patients. At hospitals that have RAPID CTP – which first became available in 2018 – doctors can quickly and clearly visualize reductions in blood flow to the brain and early signs of brain injury.
The new technology provides detailed, objective images, allowing for increased accuracy and speed in image interpretation by the stroke care team.
Immediate, real-time imaging results are transferred directly from the CT scanner to physicians via secure email or a special mobile app. The software calculates how much brain tissue has suffered permanent tissue loss, compared to the amount of brain tissue injury that can be reversed with stroke interventional treatment.
Before the software was introduced, it took about 20 minutes for CT perfusion images to be processed. With RAPID CTP, physicians can now receive images within 90 seconds. They use the same software to instantly and securely notify the rest of the medical team that a stroke patient needs emergency treatment.
Emergency stroke care
When patients present to an emergency department with an acute stroke, they receive an immediate clinical evaluation, a CT scan and potentially intravenous tPA clot-busting medicine. CT angiography and CT perfusion imaging uses advanced imaging techniques using intravenous dye to “map” the location of the blockage and determine how much brain tissue can be rescued.
Hospitals including ProHealth Waukesha Memorial Hospital that have the capability to treat eligible stroke patients with mechanical thrombectomy use the digital mapping to determine whether the patient is a candidate for direct removal of the blockage.
Mechanical thrombectomy is a minimally invasive endovascular surgery where the doctor navigates through the vascular system, as they guide a catheter to the blood clot causing the stroke. The physician uses retrieval devices to remove the clot from the blood vessel to restore blood flow and oxygenation to the brain.
Medical research shows that patients have a 60 percent to 70 percent chance of having good, independent functional outcomes with thrombectomy, versus 25 percent to 30 percent with IV tPA medicine alone.
Digital imaging, IV tPA and mechanical thrombectomy are already front-line technologies in the fight against blood clots in the brain. RAPID CTP now presents another major technological advantage for stroke patients.
The technology has the broadest FDA clearance of any imaging software designed to measure blood flow in the brain and is the only platform in its class clinically validated in more than 10 major medical trials. It is fast becoming an important life-saving tool in acute stroke care.
Scott Koss, MD, is an interventional radiologist with ProHealth Care. ProHealth Waukesha Memorial Hospital was the first hospital in Waukesha County to employ RAPID CTP software and to perform mechanical thrombectomy. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has awarded its Get With The Guidelines®– Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award to the stroke programs at Waukesha Memorial and ProHealth Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital for nine or more consecutive years. For more information, visit ProHealthCare.org/Stroke.
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For more than a century, ProHealth Care has been the health care leader in Waukesha County and surrounding areas, providing outstanding care across a full spectrum of services. The people of ProHealth Care strive to continuously improve the health and well-being of the community by combining skill, compassion and innovation. The ProHealth family includes ProHealth Waukesha Memorial Hospital, ProHealth Oconomowoc Memorial Hospital, ProHealth Rehabilitation Hospital of Wisconsin, ProHealth Medical Group, the UW Cancer Center at ProHealth Care, Moreland Surgery Center, ProHealth AngelsGrace Hospice, ProHealth Home Care, ProHealth West Wood Health & Fitness Center and ProHealth Regency Senior Communities. Learn more at ProHealthCare.org.