Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit (MSTU)


If you or a loved one suffers a stroke, time is of the essence. The sooner you receive lifesaving care, the less likely you are to experience death of brain tissue and the better chance you'll have of achieving a successful outcome. NewYork-Presbyterian Queens — in partnership with Weill Cornell Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, and the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) — has launched the first Mobile Stroke Treatment Unit (MSTU) in Queens. The unit is deployed via the FDNY through New York City's 911 system.

The MSTU emergency vehicle is designed to provide immediate, specialized care to people who may be having a stroke — bringing NewYork-Presbyterian Queens' advanced technologies, expert staff, and lifesaving stroke treatment to more people in need. This advanced level of care provided by the MSTU saves approximately 40 minutes of treatment time over standard care in the emergency department.

The unit features: 

Experts on Board: Each MSTU is staffed by a highly specialized team of two paramedics (certified by the Regional Emergency Medical Services Council of New York City), a computed tomography (CT) technologist and a registered nurse.  A neurologist is consulted remotely via telemedicine technology. This advancement allows the physician to speak with and view the patient and provide a virtual assessment and recommendations for care.

Advanced Technologies at the Ready: The MSTU is complete with a portable CT scanner that can image a patient’s brain on the spot to determine the type of stroke the person may be having. The CT scan is then wirelessly transmitted to a NewYork-Presbyterian vascular neurologist and neuroradiologist, both of whom evaluate the scan in real-time to make an accurate diagnosis.

Effective Treatments, Fast and Available: The unit also contains equipment and medications to treat strokes, including tPA — a medication that works by dissolving a blood clot and improving the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the affected part of the brain. There are plans to develop a number of other novel therapies for the future treatment of stroke in the field.

Ready to Serve: The MSTU will be deployed throughout Queens. It can only be dispatched when a caller dials 911.

Measuring Success: To determine the MSTU’s success, data will be gatherd and analyzed on each patient after admission to the hospital. Patient outcomes will be assessed at 90 days. Comparison will be made between patients treated on the MSTU who make a full recovery compared with those delivered by standard EMS transport. In addition, overall cost of care will be determined. A national registry is ongoing, evaluating similar units throughout the United States to combine data for a larger analysis.

Learn more about stroke services.