On Wednesday, October 25, 2017, UCLA Health highlighted the Mobile Stroke Unit pilot, the newest tool in the rapid diagnosis and treatment of strokes. With support from the County of Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, the first phase of this pilot program launched last month in Santa Monica with trained personnel responding to select 9-1-1 calls within the city.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States and is a major cause of serious disability for adults.” Each year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke, with over 140,000 Americans dying from a stroke each year.
Although strokes are a time critical illness, most patients are in denial and seek help after it is already too late to provide critical treatment. Please use FAST to remember the warning signs:
F: Face Drooping – Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop, or are they experiencing facial weakness or numbness?
A: Arm Weakness – Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S: Speech Difficulty – Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
T: Time – If you observe any of these signs, it’s time to call 9-1-1 immediately.
The Department is proud to collaborate with UCLA on researching innovative ways to provide critical stroke treatment faster. Through the Mobile Stroke Unit pilot and other programs like it, our goal is to help diagnose and treat stroke patients in Los Angeles County sooner and faster to improve patient outcomes. Minutes matter and rapid response is critical when it comes to treating a stroke.