The Mobile Stroke Unit Paradigm Shift for EMS: Thomas Topley


The executive director of the Bensalem Rescue Squad spoke specifically to how the MSU has shifted the paradigm of care that EMS can provide to individuals in the community. [WATCH TIME: 4 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 4 minutes

“Today, it’s just amazing in EMS and the hospital world, how much care we can [provide] to stop the stroke from getting any worse or even reversing the effects of the stroke.”

Recent research from the last several years has suggested that the use of mobile stroke units (MSUs) can markedly improve care for individuals with stroke, cutting down times to treatment and improving outcomes for patients.1-3 For those involved with the Jefferson Health MSU, the experience has echoed those findings.

May 2022 marked the second anniversary of the Jefferson Health MSU program, which includes an MSU operated by the Bensalem Rescue Squad EMS team. Headed by Thomas Topley, executive director of the squad, the program has significantly improved the care of patients in the area surrounding Philadelphia, with faster times for both thrombectomy and tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) application.

To find out more about his and his team’s experience operating the MSU, Topley sat down with NeurologyLive® while at the anniversary and education event for the MSU in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, to discuss some of this progress that has been made. He shared his insight from the emergency medical services perspective and spoke specifically to how the MSU has shifted the paradigm of care that EMS can provide to individuals in the community. Additionally, he shared the lessons that the team has learned while operating the MSU.

1. Grotta JC, Yamal J-M, Parker SA, et al. Prospective, Multicenter, Controlled Trial of Mobile Stroke Units. N Engl J Med. 2021;385:971-981. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa2103879
2. Grotta JC. BEST-MSU Study-Benefits of Stroke Treatment Delivered by a Mobile Stroke Unit Compared to Standard Management by Emergency Medical Services. Presented at: International Stroke Conference 2021. Accessed May 24, 2022.
3. Fassbender K, Merzou F, Lesmeister M, et al. Impact of mobile stroke units. J Neurol Neurosurg Psych. 2021;92:815-822. doi:10.1136/jnnp-2020-324005
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