Last year, Health First integrated Viz LVO from Viz.ai.

HEALTH FIRST Interventional Neuroradiologist Dr. Fawad Shaheen. Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability and death, but Holmes Regional is a center of excellence for stroke care, in part because of its response times. (picture Health First)

For Shalayma Cruz, a young mother, everything was on the line when she was rushed to Holmes Regional Medical Center for stroke treatment. She was lucky. His operation and recovery were accelerated by new technology that spotted his blockage and alerted specialists.

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA — For Shalayma Cruz, a young mother, everything was on the line when she was rushed to Holmes Regional Medical Center for stroke care. She was lucky. His operation and recovery were accelerated by new technology that spotted his blockage and alerted specialists.

Today Shalayma Cruz from Melbourne is back at work, once again a ‘mom’ to a 3-year-old child at high speed – her speech, facial expressions and movements have almost fully recovered after a Great Vessel Occlusion (LVO ) in his brain.

It’s hard to believe, say the doctors. Shalayma finds it hard to believe that she had a severe stroke at her age.

Her case is about the importance of family history in predicting stroke, but her recovery is about Health First’s continued investment in life-saving technology. In this case, artificial intelligence.

Last year, Health First integrated Viz LVO from the company Viz.ai – a smartphone-based artificial intelligence software that is integrated into the health system’s computed tomography (CT) brain perfusion studies. Viz LVO determines which studies indicate stroke, then alerts the stroke team at Holmes Regional Medical Center.

“When an artery is blocked, the brain receives no blood flow. It essentially dies immediately,” says Health First interventional neuroradiologist Dr Fawad Shaheen.

“Using Viz.ai has cut our treatment times by minutes, and that’s not all,” says Nancy Mettner, director of hospital operations in neuroscience, Holmes Regional.

“After Viz.ai, we find that patients’ length of stay in hospital is reduced by several days, and their speech and motor skills performance in recovery is twice as good.”

DR. FAWAD SHAHEEN points out the differences in cerebral perfusion between a brain that has suffered an ischemic stroke, on the right, and one that has undergone a tissue-preserving thrombectomy, on the left. (Images Health First)

An unexpected trip to Holmes

On the morning of December 15, Shalayma was in a rush and skipped breakfast. At 7:30 a.m. she was on a “car service” for her school when she “felt dizzy”. She grabbed a wall to steady herself, but fell.

“I am a very healthy person. I train, I eat healthy – I’m 35 years old. I never thought this would happen to me.

A colleague acted quickly and the school called 9-1-1. She is grateful to them and for being referred to Holmes Regional, “which is known for surgeries for people who have blood clots.” In fact, Brevard County EMS trains on strokes and, in cases of large vessel occlusion, will bypass primary stroke centers in favor of the Holmes Regional Thrombectomy Stroke Center.

The CT brain perfusion study she had was picked up by Viz LVO, who alerted the hospital’s stroke team.

Last year, Health First integrated Viz LVO from the company Viz.ai – a smartphone-based artificial intelligence software that is integrated into the health system’s computed tomography (CT) brain perfusion studies. Viz LVO determines which studies indicate stroke, then alerts the stroke team at Holmes Regional Medical Center. (picture Health First)

Top 10 Thrombectomy Centers

Less than a decade ago, the treatment of strokes – particularly large vessel occlusions – experienced a breakthrough. Instrumentation and technology have evolved, allowing surgeons to send tiny tubes inserted at the neck, leg, or arm through an artery to the blood clot and physically remove it, immediately restoring blood flow.

Previously – and in most cases still – these strokes were treated with a drug, alteplase.

Health First executives pounced. The health system hired a specialist, built a dedicated operating room and, most importantly, assembled a team of stroke care experts and equipped them with the tools and technology to speed up Brevard residents stricken by an LVO in surgery and on the road to recovery.

“We were able to start our program incredibly quickly,” says Dr. Shaheen. “We became the 14th largest thrombectomy center in the country, and our volumes have been incredibly high ever since. »

Integrating Viz LVO is the latest time-consuming healthcare system investment.

Health First has an app for that

Stroke is a leading cause of long-term disability and death, but Holmes Regional is a center of excellence for stroke care, in part because of its response times. An ischemic stroke (87% of all strokes) triggers automatic notifications through the Viz.ai app to on-call stroke doctors who review 3D brain and vascular images from their phones.

It shortens a hospital’s door-to-needle time – the time it takes for brain-saving surgery to begin. In a real-world study in over 100 hospitals, Viz LVO saved 66 minutes of door-to-needle time.

“We have an incredible neuroscience team, and one way to make the most of it is to get patients in as quickly as possible,” said Stephen Wright, system vice president, Health First.

“This partnership with Viz.ai is our way of bridging the distance between our specialists who save lives and those in our community who need stroke care now.”

SHALAYMA CRUZ was at work when she began to feel dizzy and disoriented. A brain perfusion study identified a large vessel occlusion (LVO) that was detected by Health First’s Viz.ai stroke detection software, and a stroke alert that engaged the neuro-interventional team at Holmes Regional Medical Center was dispatched. (picture Health First)

A family story

Shalayma Cruz’s journey through stroke care has become a journey of discovery. His father had suffered several strokes before succumbing to one at the age of 70.

“When my dad died of a stroke, I thought it was because of his diet, his bad cholesterol, that sort of thing. I never thought I’d inherit a gene that would make me having a stroke at a young age.

Like many people, Shalayma has a congenital heart defect called a patent foramen ovale (PFO). More blood clots enter his bloodstream through the heart because of this. But she also has a genetic mutation that makes her more susceptible to harmful blood clots. She didn’t know that until she was at Holmes Regional. Now at least she has answers. She took her son to a geneticist to see if he has the same markers.

More than that, his recovery is spectacular – the world is better than his father’s.

“The technology back then wasn’t as great. He lost all his movement,” she said. “Now with me, when I compare our results, it doesn’t look the same.”

“A case like Ms Cruz’s is very gratifying,” says Dr Shaheen. “This job takes a heavy emotional toll, and when someone like Ms. Cruz walks into your clinic, doing so well, speaking unadulterated, it makes the burden you carry easier to bear, okay?”

Having undergone a thrombectomy, on a timeline measured in minutes not hours, Shalayma says her stroke will not impact her dreams for herself.

“I hope that over time my recovery will be so complete that everything will go away.”

If you or a loved one are concerned about a stroke and want to assess the risk, visit HF.org/Stroke and take a quick stroke risk quiz.