News and Events

Rambam Neuroradiologists Improve Stroke Patient Care

Publication Date: 5/23/2019 | by: Rambam

Stroke specialists at Rambam are using AI technology for early identification and diagnosis of stroke patients. The platform enables larger stroke centers to be connected to smaller hospitals in order to ensure that these patients can be treated as quickly as possible at the most suitable medical center.

Dr. Rotem Sivan-Hoffmann attending the 11th World Stroke Congress in Montreal, Canada. Photo courtesy of Dr. Rotem Sivan-HoffmanDr. Rotem Sivan-Hoffmann attending the 11th World Stroke Congress in Montreal, Canada. Photo courtesy of Dr. Rotem Sivan-Hoffman

Dr. Rotem Sivan-Hoffmann is an interventional neuroradiologist in Rambam Health Care Campus’s Department of Interventional Neuroradiology and the Department of Medical Imaging, a field that deals with cerebral catheterization and endovascular treatment. She is trying to change the face of stroke patient care in Israel and revolutionize early stroke patient management. For the past one-and-a-half years, Sivan-Hoffmann and her colleagues have been using cutting edge AI technology created by American-Israeli digital health startup Viz.ai, which reads CT scans and identifies signs of stroke, especially blood vessel blockages using CT angiography.

The system is designed to enable cooperation between large stroke centers such as Rambam with smaller stroke centers and hospitals without stroke teams, with the large centers acting as hubs to which the smaller hospitals can send its stroke patients in order to receive the best possible care as quickly as possible. The platform is deployed at each hospital and its app is installed on the mobile devices of designated medical personnel at each center. When a patient suspected of having suffered a stroke is brought in, the Viz.ai system identifies the stroke and sends a push notification to the connected mobile devices within five to ten minutes, providing all the necessary patient information. Doctors can then view the test results and, using the platform, discuss the best course of action for the patient. “What we are trying to do here is to create a platform for cooperation between Rambam’s comprehensive stroke center and smaller hospitals that are relatively close by. In this way, we can receive notifications from other hospitals regarding patients with arterial blockages before the local team gets caught up in the process of trying to decide what route to take. Essentially, Viz.ai allows us to make decisions in a more timely manner, which speeds up the process and ensures that the stroke patient is treated as quickly as possible,” explains Sivan-Hoffmann.

Sivan-Hoffmann, who is also working with a team to develop CVAid, an app for pre-hospital stroke patient diagnosis and management, is presenting her work with Viz.ai at this year’s American Society of Neuroradiologists in Boston during an AI session on the topic of digital health. She will present the results of her treatment of 1,200 patients using the Viz.ai platform.

Rambam has the biggest stroke center in Israel, and in 2017, one-quarter of all brain catheterizations performed in Israel were performed at Rambam. It is the only stroke center in Israel to provide stroke treatment 365 days a year, and receives referrals from hospitals in the center of the country as well as from other hospitals in the north. Rambam recently opened a three-bed stroke intensive care unit within the Herta and Paul Amir Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit.

“Rambam is not only building a big and very impressive stroke center – it is also becoming a regional center of cooperation with other hospitals in the periphery using the Viz.ai platform,” notes Sivan-Hoffman. “There is a term that is widely used in our specialty and it is ‘stroke systems of care’. When we building systems like Viz.ai and CVAid and create regional cooperation, we are essentially laying the foundation for our stroke system of care. This provides us with the capability to see the big regional picture and improve early diagnosis for stroke patients throughout the north.”