ASSERT Network

STHS is improving Northshore residents’ access to highly specialized vascular neurologists in case of stroke. STHS is a hospital in the ASSERT initiative (an acronym for Acute Stroke System for Emergency Regional Telestroke), improving quick diagnosis and treatment of stroke by linking STHS and Northshore patients to vascular neurologists at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans via telemedicine equipment.

"It is like having a vascular neurologist at the patient’s bedside,” said Dr. Stanford K. White, STHS emergency physician.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals’ Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program received grant funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop and implement a telestroke network in southeastern Louisiana. Ochsner, STHS and eight other hospitals comprise the network.

STHS emergency department physicians will have readily available remote access to consult with Ochsner vascular neurologists who will assist in determining which treatment options are best for each stroke patient. Hospitals in the network follow the American Heart Association’s “Get with the Guidelines” optimal stroke care program and participate in community education about stroke.

ASSERT uses Remote Evaluation of Acute isCHemic stroke (REACH Call) technology to provide streamlined communication, synched in real-time, with all changes in patient condition recorded and time-stamped. All medical staff entries made at either end of the two-way connection will be visible at both hospitals immediately.

If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and look for these signs and symptoms of stroke:

Face: Sudden numbness or weakness in the face or one side of the body.

Arm: Sudden numbness or weakness in arm or on one side of the body.

Speech: Difficulty speaking or seeing.

Time: Time is important to protecting brain damage. Call 911 if these symptoms occur suddenly or are accompanied by the loss of vision, the loss of balance with dizziness or the worst headache of your life, with no known cause, both sudden and severe.