Bethlehem News Imaging for Stroke Patients

Published on July 9th, 2018

Technology at St. Luke’s Offers New Lifeline to Stroke Patients

June 27, 2018 – St. Luke’s University Health Network has introduced new software, iSchemaView RAPID™, to generate maps of damaged brain tissue to help determine treatment options, regardless of how much time has passed since the stroke occurred. The technology promises to dramatically improve recovery for a significant portion of stroke patients.

“Time is Brain” refers to the fact that time is a crucial element of stroke outcome and the presence or absence of it, can mean the difference between saving vital brain tissue or losing it. In the past, six hours was the industry standard for how long doctors had from onset of symptoms to treat a patient with thrombectomy, a procedure to remove the clot in the brain and restore blood-flow. However, if the stroke occurred more the six hours from the time of treatment, thrombectomy would no longer be an option because it could cause more harm than good.

Now, the iSchemaView RAPID™ Imaging Platform software works with CT perfusion scans to produce clear images of the brain and evaluate blood flow in patients who have had an acute ischemic stroke. By comparing flow in different parts of the brain, doctors can select those patients who will most benefit from thrombectomy, even if it’s up to 24 hours from the onset of stroke.

A person dies from stroke every four minutes in this country, with stroke contributing to up to one in five deaths. Ischemic strokes, the type of strokes that the software is indicated for, is the most common type, affecting nearly 800,000 people in the United States every year.

Dr.  Daniel Ackerman, director of Stroke and Vascular Neurology, St. Luke’s University Health Network, has seen a major shift in care because of the availability of this software.

“Before this software was available, CT perfusion was labor intensive and time consuming and our best evidence allowed us to treat patients with a large blood clot up to six hours from the time their symptoms started,” explains Dr.  Ackerman. “The new software allows us to treat selected patients up to 24 hours from the time their stroke symptoms start. By quickly and accurately identifying where there are issues with blood flow, which tissue is damaged and which is repairable, the software helps clinicians identify whether or not the window of opportunity to treat the stroke is still feasible then interventionalists can go after the clot.”

iSchemaView RAPID™ Imaging Platform is available at St. Luke’s Comprehensive Stroke Center at the Bethlehem Campus. Seven of the hospitals in the Network are designated as Primary Stroke Centers. The St. Luke’s Comprehensive Stroke Center in Bethlehem and the Primary Stroke Center in Allentown were recently recognized for both speed and consistent excellence in stroke care with the highest possible honor from the American Stroke Association for the second year running.

“The application of this technology represents the next chapter in St. Luke’s commitment to provide cutting edge stroke care,” says Dr.  Ackerman. “The addition of CT-Perfusion and iSchemaView RAPID™ to our stroke arsenal gives us the tools to offer immediate treatment to far more people, helping them to recover as quickly and completely as possible.”

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