CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System Launches New Stroke Technology for Better Patient Outcomes

The stroke team now detects significant vessel blockages within minutes using artificial intelligence technology, resulting in better patient outcomes.

Beaumont, Texas

September 27, 2022 – CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth, St. Mary Mid-County, and Jasper Memorial Hospital are improving treatment for stroke patients with the success of the CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Stroke Program and their use of technology. The program offers the most current approach to treating stroke patients and meets the highest standards of safety goals and standards.

Two critical elements of the program include the use of TeleSpecialists TeleStroke, a neurology telemedicine service, and the newly implemented Viz.ai technology, an artificial intelligence program linked to imaging services already in place.

The neurology telemedicine services, TeleSpecialists TeleStroke, provide patients with 24/7 emergency access to neurologists with extensive experience treating strokes. This technology offering begins as soon as a patient with stroke-like symptoms goes to the emergency room in an ambulance. This is when a hospital-wide Stroke Alert can be issued. The clinical team stands by and deploys video conferencing technology through TeleSpecialists TeleStroke, which connects them to a board-certified neurologist. Mounted on a mobile cart, the telemedicine technology allows a neurologist to participate in all aspects of the neurological exam—from the CT scan to the physical exam and patient interview—before recommending a course of treatment.

“Our patients receive the care they need incredibly fast. With a collaborative approach, a teleneurologist is on screen and ready to evaluate the patient within minutes of any consult request,” said Brenda Hatch, RN CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Hospital-St. Elizabeth Hospital Program Manager and Stroke Coordinator. “We are ready to take care of our stroke patients here in Southeast Texas and are passionate about saving lives.”

Viz.ai is also a critical and beneficial resource in the Stroke Alert process. Viz.ai, known for its Intelligent Care Coordination platform, improves multidisciplinary care team communication and offers high-fidelity mobile image viewing as well as detailed patient information, including real-time status changes. A patient’s stroke symptoms might include the detection of a large vessel blockage. That is information Viz.ai picks up instantaneously, then this information gets deployed to renowned physicians at various comprehensive stroke centers in Texas. If necessary, a patient transfer can be initiated. The CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System is the first in the Southeast Texas Region to implement Viz.ai.

“This is a cutting-edge and life-saving technology that’s making a difference in the lives of many here in Southeast Texas,” explained Paul Trevino, President and CEO of CHRISTUS Southeast Texas Health System. “We’re giving people a second chance at life, a smoother recovery and ensuring we have the modern technology and resources available for all those we have the privilege to serve.”

Stroke Facts by the Numbers:

  • 5th Leading Cause of Death and Disability
  • 400 Stroke Patients: Average number of stroke patients treated each year at CHRISTUS St. Elizabeth
  • 3 Hours: From the onset of symptoms, this is the window of time in which a clot-busting medication can be given for a better chance of recovery.
  • 45 Minutes: This is the national standard of time in which a patient, once arriving at the hospital should be diagnosed and administered a clot-busting medicine like Alteplase
  • 35 Minutes: Exceeding national standards, CHRISTUS Southeast Texas St. Elizabeth Hospital’s current year-to-date time in which a patient comes in the door and receives medication is 10 minutes below the national goal.

Understanding and being aware of the warning signs of a stroke — as well as acting F.A.S.T. — could save a life and make a recovery easier for the survivor.

B.E.F.A.S.T. Stands for BALANCE, EYS, FACE, ARM, SPEECH, TIME:

  • Balance — Is the person leaning to one side or staggering when walking? Watch for a sudden loss of balance.
  • Eyes — Is there a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes? Double vision that doesn’t go away when the person blinks their eyes? Check for signs vision loss.
  • Face drooping — Is one side of the face dropping? Look at their eye, cheek, or lips to check for any unusual asymmetry or droopiness.
  • Arm weakness — Is the person experiencing arm weakness? Ask them to raise both arms to shoulder height and check for one arm that seems lower than the other.
  • Slurred speech — Is the person’s speech slurred, or are they speaking in an unintelligible way?
  • Time to call 911 — It’s time to call 911 or your local emergency services. Be sure to tell them you think it’s a stroke.

Other important warning signs to be aware of are:

  • The person seems to be having trouble understanding you or speaking coherently.
  • The person appears to be confused, have trouble seeing or walking.
  • The person is experiencing a painful headache.
  • The person is experiencing numbness on their face, arm, legs, or a specific side of their body.