It’s decisions like these that Dr. Khatri and the stroke team make every day—not just for patients who come through the doors of the Emergency Department, but for every person in Greater Cincinnati that has a stroke.
Dr. Khatri, her stroke team co-director Opeolu Adeoye, MD, and 14 others take turns carrying a pager every hour of every day.
Hospitals around the region are known to call this pager anytime they encounter a patient who they even suspect may be having a stroke. The UC physician on stroke call helps inform these other physicians which patients may benefit from which treatments, and whether they need to be sent to UC Medical Center.
That kind of citywide care only happens in Cincinnati.
“We’re unique because our stroke team has been working across the health systems for the entire region for the benefit of patients since the late ‘80s,” said Dr. Khatri, UC Health neurologist and neurology professor at the UC College of Medicine.
What happened in the late 1980s shook the international medical world, changed the way we treat stroke and saved countless lives: UC neurologists piloted the use of tPA, a drug already approved for heart blockages, to treat stroke.
It was a huge success, positioning UC and UC Health as world leaders in stroke care and triggering decades of research to continue to save and improve lives for people who have strokes—research that continues to this day.
Someone in New York or London or Tokyo who receives tPA, or whose clot is removed through their artery, is able to receive this care in large part because of the giants at UC Health who have dedicated their lives to this work.
“We’ve got this history of treating stroke in this city, and that’s why I came here,” Dr. Khatri said. “I’ve lived all over, but I wanted to do my fellowship here.”
She stayed with UC and UC Health to follow through stroke research she started during that fellowship.
“If you ask my kids why we’re living in Cincinnati, they’ll say, “Because mom was doing the IMS (interventional management of stroke) trial.”
UC and UC Health play a significant role in the international field of stroke treatment and care:
UC leads the clinical coordination of nearly all of the nation's large-scale, multi-center stroke trials funded by the National Institutes for Health.
The UC Stroke Team created the widely known “FAST” acronym—face, arms, speech and time—to determine whether you’re having a stroke. “FAST” is now recognized as the American Stroke Association’s guidelines for recognizing a stroke.
The stroke team helped develop the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, a scoring system that allows physicians everywhere to communicate stroke severity with consistency.
For those patients who do come through the UC Medical Center Emergency Department, their journey with UC Health has only just begun.
The patient who Dr. Khatri suspected may have a tiny clot is brought into the department entrance on a stretcher and immediately taken into an imaging suite.
An entire team of people—Dr. Khatri, radiology technicians, nurses, emergency medicine physicians, residents, and a UC medical student—will now care for this patient, informed by the world’s most up-to-date stroke research.