UW Health: Wisconsin Telestroke Network welcomes Southwest Health Center

For Release: CONTACT: Susan Lampert Smith
June 21, 2013

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Wisconsin Telestroke Network welcomes Southwest Health Center

Madison, Wis. — Southwest Health Center of Platteville is the latest member of the growing Wisconsin Telestroke Program headquartered at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics.
This means patients who go to Southwest Health Center in Platteville have immediate access to the stroke neurologists at the UW Comprehensive Stroke Center, allowing quick internet assessments of their symptoms and, if necessary, the treatment that can save brain function. A clot-busting drug called tPA must be given within four hours after the onset of an ischemic stroke, which is caused when a blood clot blocks blood vessels in the brain. About 700,000 people have ischemic strokes in the United States; those who aren’t treated quickly can die or have permanent brain damage.

“We are so pleased to be able to extend the care of the UW Comprehensive Stroke Center to the residents of southwestern Wisconsin,” says Dr. Justin Sattin, medical director of the UW stroke program. “This is truly the ‘Wisconsin Idea’ in action – the philosophy that we should extend the knowledge of the university throughout the state. We work as a team with our community-hospital colleagues, and that avoids duplicating medical services.”

UW Hospital is one of the first certified comprehensive stroke centers in the country. The Joint Commission, which provides the certification, documented every step of a stroke patient’s care, from first radio contact with the ambulance crew through the emergency department, imaging, neurology, neurosurgery, hospital care, and rehabilitation. To meet the “comprehensive” standard, the hospital proved it was ready 24/7 to treat multiple complex stroke cases at the same time. Certified Comprehensive Stroke Centers must have advanced imaging and treatment capabilities, specialists on staff around the clock, specially trained staff and physicians, and faculty engaged in stroke research.

Through its telestroke network, the UW Comprehensive Stroke Center provides emergency care to stroke patients at a network of hospitals in Wisconsin and northern Illinois, including those in Beaver Dam, Lancaster and Watertown, Wisconsin, and Belvidere and Rockford in Northern Illinois. This collaborative approach extends the knowledge of UW experts to community hospitals without the expense of duplicating services.