Banner Health News Center  

Community Hospital introduces stroke program


TORRINGTON, WY (March 24, 2014) – Community Hospital knows that when it comes to treatment for stroke, every second counts.

For this reason, the hospital is partnering with Swedish Medical Center in Denver to introduce a telestroke program in Torrington. This program will provide the fastest and most advanced treatment for stroke patients using robotic technology. The stroke robot became available in Torrington on March 17.

This 24/7 stroke and neurology state-of-the-art technology uses secured video links to provide patients immediate, around-the-clock access to board-certified neurologists who are experts in stroke care.  When health care providers in the Torrington suspect a person is having a stroke, they will use the telemedicine program to call a neurologist at Swedish Medical Center in Denver. That neurologist will use a high-definition camera that is placed on the robot at the patient’s bedside in Community Hospital to examine patients. The robot also has a screen and microphone to provide two-way video and audio communication. The neurologist can assess and interview the patient and talk to family members and other care providers just as if he or she was in the room. Most importantly, the neurologist can provide the valuable consultation about the plan of care for the patient with the on-site Emergency department physician.

“Working with neurologists who are experts in stroke care, we can make more timely decisions on how to treat each patient,” said Jenna Zapf, RN, Emergency room nursing manager. “It’s great to have this service available 24/7.”

Each year about 795,000 people in the United States experience a stroke. It is the country’s third-leading cause of death. Risk factors for stroke include hypertension, diabetes, obesity, smoking and sickle cell anemia.

There are two main types of stroke and treatment for each type is different:

  • An ischemic stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is blocked due to a clot in an artery. This clot blocks the flow of blood, and the oxygen it carries, to the brain.
  • A hemorrhagic stroke is bleeding from the small arteries into the brain.
  • A third event called a transient ischemic attack (TIA) is a temporary blockage that lasts a few minutes but does not cause brain damage. Although not an actual stroke, a TIA can be a precursor to an actual stroke.

Each type of stroke requires a different type of treatment, which may be given in a rural facility or may require transport to a facility offering more specialized service. Having the telestroke program allows the neurosurgeon from Swedish to consult with the Emergency physician on site and possibly alleviate the need for the patient to be transferred to a different hospital.

Stroke statistics:

  • 795,000 people in the United States suffer strokes each year
  • 133,000 people in the United States die each year because of stroke
  • From 1997-2007, the stroke death rate fell by 34 percent and the number of deaths fell by 18 percent
  • There are about 7 million stroke survivors
  • Up to 80 percent of all strokes are preventable.

Source: National Stroke Association

Community Hospital in Torrington, WY, is operated by Banner Health, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health care systems with 24 hospitals in seven states. Community Hospital was constructed on its current site in 1977 and offers obstetrics, general surgery, oncology, inpatient and outpatient diagnostics, community wellness and Emergency care. For more information, visit


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