18.1 C

HMRI, NSW Ambulance home of world-first stroke technology


The Hunter is home to a world-first trial that will see cutting-edge stroke technology being used to treat patients in a much quicker timeframe.

The collaborative initiative will see a new brain scanner used by NSW Ambulance paramedics as part of the rapid assessment and triage of stroke patients as they are transported to hospital.

The Medfield Diagnostics Strokefinder MD100 helmet is being used for the first time on the frontline and outside of hospital.

Minister for Regional Health Ryan Park said the innovative trial could mean even faster stroke diagnosis and treatment, with more patients standing to benefit from timely stroke interventions in the vital “golden hour”.

“Stroke is a time critical emergency and is one of Australia’s biggest killers, so the earlier our paramedics and neurologists can assess and treat patients, the better the outcome,” he explained.

“I am really proud our NSW Ambulance paramedics are the first in the world to use this device in the pre-hospital setting.

“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.”

NSW Ambulance Commissioner Dr Dominic Morgan said the technology is fast to operate and performs multiple brain measurements in 60 seconds.

“This exciting study brings together NSW Ambulance intensive care paramedics and John Hunter Hospital neurologists, and the Hunter Medical Research Institute, to evaluate the feasibility of the Strokefinder MD100 helmet in pre-hospital care,” he stated.

“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.”

Acute Stroke Services Neurologist at John Hunter Hospital and study lead Professor Chris Levi said clinicians and researchers would work together closely to evaluate and refine how the stroke detection system and telehealth app could optimise frontline care.

“When a stroke occurs, rapid and accurate diagnosis is vital to speed up the delivery of treatment interventions and improve clinical outcomes for the patient,” Professor Levi said.

Preliminary data from the trial shows almost all patients were scanned within an hour of the Triple Zero call being made.

Minister for Medical Research David Harris said the results of the trial have been remarkable considering less than 5% of stroke patients in Australia undergo a hospital CT scan within an hour of suffering a stroke.

“Although still in the research phase, this innovation allows paramedics to rapidly scan the brain, hopefully within what’s known as the ‘golden hour’ after a stroke occurs which is when we can optimise treatment outcomes for the patient,” Mr Harris said.

The Stroke Finder helmet is being trialled by the Hunter Medical Research Institute for the first time.

Jack Di Tommaso, a 27-year-old gym owner and personal trainer from Newcastle, recently completed a marathon when an ischaemic stroke gave him and his family the shock of their lives.

He didn’t know what to make of his sudden symptoms, which included slurred speech and reduced consciousness.

Thanks to this trial, the Strokefinder MD100 scan was performed on Jack within the “golden hour” after suffering a stroke and his clinical information was captured in the telehealth app.

Jack said he felt lucky to be treated so quickly thanks in part to this ground-breaking trial.

“I’m grateful my mate called Triple Zero straight away, the paramedics arrived minutes later and were amazing from start to finish,” he said.

“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.”

Regional Australians are 17% more likely to suffer a stroke than those in metropolitan areas.

In the Hunter New England Health District, about 1,500 residents experience a stroke each year.

The Hunter region was first announced as the test site for the stroke detector technology in February 2015.

By 2016 stroke was reported as the nation’s second biggest killer, representing a $2.9 billion burden to society, with an acute stroke occurring every 10 minutes in Australia.

NSW Ambulance in partnership with Hunter New England Local Health District, Medfield Diagnostics, Hunter Medical Research Institute, and Titan Neuroscience Research Australia, anticipate reporting trial results later this year.

For more stroke survivor stories:

Get all the latest Newcastle news, sport, real estate, entertainment, lifestyle and more delivered straight to your inbox with the Newcastle Weekly Daily Newsletter. Sign up here.

More Stories

Newcastle Weekly

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to Newcastle Weekly. News, Community, Lifestyle, Property delivered direct to your inbox! 100% Local, 100% Free.

You have Successfully Subscribed!