Centra Health hopes to save more lives with new stroke technology

LYNCHBURG, Va. – There’s a new tool at Centra, called Sevaro, that doctors are using when it comes to stroke care prevention.

Sevaro allows doctors to use Zoom so they can remotely conduct assessments on people who’ve suffered from strokes. In 45 seconds, patients can see a neurologist virtually.

A patient has a stroke every 40 seconds in the U.S. and every three minutes and 14 seconds someone loses their life due to a stroke, according to the CDC.

Nurse Practitioner and Stroke Program Supervisor Beth Hundt said minutes and seconds matter when someone suffers from a stroke.

“Having a stroke means that their blood flow is distributed in the brain, and every minute the blood flow is distributed to our brain cells, about 2 million brain cells die; so minutes matter. With advances to stroke care, we are able to provide treatment that can stop a stroke and limit the death and disability for patients when they are having a stroke,” said Hundt.

She also said it helps because there’s a shortage of neurologists at Centra and across the country. Centra has six neurologists right now, but Sevaro allows patients to be seen by doctors across the country.

“Because there’s a nationwide shortage of neurologists particularly critical in rural areas, it is challenging to bring that expertise to the bedside when people really need it in those emergency moments where seconds matter. Sevaro is really committed to meeting that gap,” said Hundt.

Hundt said Centra typically sees about 600 people have the final diagnosis of stroke. She said last year they had more than 1,200 people who had the signs and symptoms of strokes.

Here’s how many people have had strokes in Southwest Virginia:

  • In 2022, 252 people were hospitalized due to strokes in Bedford County, according to the Virginia Department of Health’s latest data
  • That same year, Henry County saw 124 patients
  • 197 people in Montgomery County were hospitalized from strokes
  • Roanoke County saw 310 people and Rockbridge saw 37
  • Roanoke City saw the highest with more than 454 people who suffered from strokes in 2022

Doctors want people to recognize the signs and symptoms of strokes during Stroke Prevention Month.

“If people have disturbance in their balance, a sudden loss in vision, a facial droop, weakness in one of their arms or difficulty speaking,” said Hundt.

She also said people should have a healthy diet, exercise, stop smoking and manage their blood pressure for stroke prevention.

Centra doctors have been using Sevaro since May. They have seen about 30 patients so far and implemented emergency treatments for at least two patients.

About the Author

Keshia Lynn is a Multimedia Journalist for WSLS. She was born and raised in Maryland and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Law and Society from American University and a Master’s degree in Mass Communication from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism.

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