Nation's first mobile stroke unit unveiled by University of Texas Health

HOUSTON - University of Texas Health has unveiled the nation's first mobile stroke unit with a CT scanner on board.

The mobile stroke unit is specifically designed to treat stroke patients.

According to Dr. James Grotta, director of Stroke Research at UT Health, the ambulance is "designed specifically to take the emergency room to the patient."

When having a stroke, seconds count.

"On average even our best emergency rooms, it takes an hour to be evaluated and treated for their stroke," Grotta said.

Grotto will ride in the mobile stroke unit.

"Every minute that goes by two million nerve cells die. So if we can save 30 minutes of time that's 60 million nerve cells that we might be able to preserve," said Grotto.

The mobile stroke unit looks exactly like an ambulance but it will respond to stroke patients. It's ready to roll out and treat patients. The unit currently will only go to about a 3 mile radius.

"We're going to be dispatched the same time the fire department is dispatched. We don't want to delay them so we will arrive on scene the same time the fire department is there," said Grotto.

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