Get Ahead of Stroke Campaign Improves Triage and Transport in Tennessee


The Get Ahead of Stroke campaign is an initiative from the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery (SNIS) designed to improve national public education and systems of care for patients experiencing and recovering from stroke. 

In a move that the Get Ahead of Stroke campaign says will reduce disability and death from stroke, the Tennessee legislature passed a bill that changes how emergency medical services (EMS) personnel triage patients who may be experiencing stroke, and where those who are found likely to have stroke are transported. The bill is expected to be signed by Governor Bill Haslam's and take effect July 1, 2018. Stroke is a leading cause of death in Tennessee.

The bill requires EMS protocols for and education of EMS personnel in the prehospital assessment of patients for stroke through coordination with hospitals to best address patient needs. In particular, it calls for educating responders in identifying patients experiencing emergent large-vessel occlusion (ELVO), who are most likely to benefit from rapid treatment with neuroendovascular stroke surgery if it is performed quickly enough.

"This legislation is the next step forward in creating a comprehensive stroke system of care throughout the state," said Senator Bill Ketron, the bill's primary sponsor in the Tennessee Senate.

"The passage of this legislation puts Tennessee on the leading edge of stroke care. These new protocols will help ensure every stroke patient — not just the lucky ones — is triaged properly in the field, and that those suspected of severe stroke are taken directly to the best facilities. Because of these protocols, we will see more patients survive and thrive after stroke," said Dr. Blaise Baxter, an interventional neuroradiologist in Chattanooga and the president of SNIS.

The Get Ahead of Stroke campaign is working across the country to improve systems of care for all stroke patients and has helped drive changes in the EMS and public health systems of Colorado, Arizona, and now Tennessee.  The campaign is also working toward policy change in Massachusetts, New York, Ohio and Virginia. 


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