None - A device that many people use each day to communicate with each other could soon help doctors assess the severity of a patient's stroke symptoms.
Emory University researchers have been studying and using two-way video on the iPhone4 to help diagnose stroke from a distance.
Dr. Eric Anderson says this is the first study to demonstrate reliable stroke assessment using Apple's FaceTime software.
“During a stroke there is a critical window of time to save the brain and every minute counts,” explained Anderson.
He says people in rural areas have less access to people with specialized stroke knowledge and stroke care.
"Typically, when people with strokes get shipped to the centers that have the stroke specialists in them it's normally too late for us to treat them appropriately," said Anderson.
This medicine can be applied at outside hospitals, but Anderson says they find that people with less experience tend to do worse at managing that, so people who go to an outside hospital or rural hospital where they don't have stroke specialists or stroke expertise have poorer outcomes.
Anderson says the two-way video will allow a neurologist to be at a patient's bedside examining them even though they are not physically in the room. He says the use of Apple's FaceTime software is much less expensive than current telemedicine solutions.
The study included 20 patients - nine men and 11 women - who were admitted to Grady Memorial Hospital for acute stroke. All of the patients underwent evaluation by a physician at the bedside, who was being directed remotely by another physician via the iPhone 4. Each physician calculated a score using the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale and found there was excellent agreement in total scores between them on 10 items included in the scale.
The study was recently published in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases.