Emergency stroke unit comes to Phoenix

Posted: Updated:
(Source: Barrow Neurological Institute) (Source: Barrow Neurological Institute)

Phoenix will have its first mobile stroke unit from a partnership between the Barrow Neurological Institute and the Phoenix Fire Department.

The Barrow Emergency Stroke Treatment Unit will improve the treatment response time to stroke victims.

“This is one additional way emergency response systems and the medical community are working together to continue to provide the most advanced care and support to Phoenix residents,” said Kara Kalkbrenner, Phoenix Fire chief. 

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The response rate to a stroke victim is critical because the probability of a stroke victim having a good outcome reduces 10 percent every 30 minutes until blood flow to the brain is re-established. Less than 1 percent of patients receive treatment within an hour.

"By deploying a mobile emergency room that includes the latest technology and medical expertise, we will be able to treat stroke patients much quicker than traditional methods," said Michael Waters, director of the stroke program at Barrow Neurological Institute.

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The unit that is housed at Barrow, which is part of Dignity Health St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center, has a response radius of 20 minutes. It will be able to reach the curbside of about half of all stroke patients in the greater Phoenix area.

The $1 million emergency unit will be deployed when Phoenix Fire receives 911 calls where there is a possible stroke victim. 

The Phoenix City Council approved the emergency unit May. The unit is expected to begin operation in July.

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