Siemens’ Somatom Scope CT scanner is playing a critical role in the new Mobile Stroke Unit launched by the University of Tennessee (UT) College of Medicine in Memphis, Tenn. Featuring advanced capabilities such as CT angiography imaging for the brain and blood vessels, UT’s Mobile Stroke Unit marks the first time these features have been available in a mobile setting. Such capabilities allow clinicians to quickly diagnose and launch stroke treatment within the critical first-hour timeframe and select patients for endovascular interventions, neurosurgery, and neuro-critical care before they’re hospitalized.

“We have a tremendous burden of stroke in Shelby County, [Tenn], with a stroke rate per 100,000 population that is 37% higher than the national average,” says David Stern, MD, vice chancellor for clinical affairs for the UT College of Medicine and the UT Health Science Center. “The goal of the Mobile Stroke Unit is to minimize morbidity and mortality—to have more patients walk out of the hospital fully functional.” After all, he says, the faster clinicians are able to assess stroke patients, the greater their chances of recovery.

Unlike other mobile stroke units that only image the brain (not vessels) and require clinicians to move patients whenever an image is taken, UT’s stroke unit provides the same number of slices in high resolution as obtained and expected in the hospital setting. A dedicated gantry that automatically moves the patient to obtain images facilitates this, UT officials say. Plus, UT’s Mobile Stroke Unit, which weighs more than 14 tons, is equipped with an internal power source that’s capable of matching regular electrical outlet access.

Starting in late April, the UT Mobile Stroke Unit will operate 12 hours a day, with one week on and one week off. Up to three years of operation is expected.

For more information about the Somatom system powering the Mobile Stroke Unit, visit Siemens Healthcare.