AI and stroke
AI and stroke

How AI Is Helping Experts Care For Stroke Patients

Posted on April 29, 2024 by Suzanna Mazur
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Because the largest factor in stroke survival is time, artificial intelligence (AI) is helping doctors identify stroke patients sooner – meaning less time between first experiencing symptoms to diagnosing them and then treating.

With the combination of current AI programs and opportunities for AI used in post-stroke care on the horizon, patients are in the best position now to receive life-saving care for stroke in a timely fashion.

How AI Improves Stroke Diagnosis

Aaron Lewandowski, M.D., an emergency medicine doctor at Henry Ford Health, explains that many health systems including Henry Ford are employing the use of an AI program called RapidAI® to help decrease the time to stroke diagnosis and treatment.

“When someone comes into the hospital with stroke-like symptoms, we automatically begin our stroke protocols, and they will most likely be sent for a CT scan of the head,” says Dr. Lewandowski. “These scans compare the left and right sides of the brain to look for abnormalities such as cerebral artery discrepancies, blockages or changes in blood flow to the brain.”

The RapidAI® software is integrated directly into the hospital radiology process. When a possible stroke patient has imaging done, the AI program is able to “read” the results immediately. RapidAI® can alert the team to a possible large vessel occlusion (LVO) – major strokes that occur when one of the major arteries of the brain are blocked.

Stroke Care At Henry Ford

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This AI program also eases communication among the numerous clinical team members involved, allowing the entire care team to assemble and prepare for treatment if deemed necessary. As CT scan results come in, the entire emergency department and on-call neurologists are notified – allowing them to evaluate your CT results in real time and determine a best course of action as quickly as possible.

Faster Diagnosis For Faster Treatment

As AI alerts the medical teams of cases of possible LVO, experts can quickly decide if someone might be a good candidate for a thrombectomy. Thrombectomy procedures involve removing the stroke-causing clot from the affected blood vessel – restoring normal blood flow to the brain and improving the odds of a full recovery. Clot-busting medication, called tenecteplase (TNK) can also be administered for certain patients prior to thrombectomy.

The Future Of Stroke Care With AI

Research is being done to explore other ways that AI can improve stroke care – though it is in the very early stages of study. There are some studies looking at how AI can help patients during post-stroke recovery. While experts are optimistic, these practices are far from being implemented in every-day patient care.

“AI programs might be of use to personalize or optimize a patient’s care, based on their specific circumstances,” says Dr. Lewandowski. “It will be interesting to see where AI will be useful to us outside of diagnostic care.”


Reviewed by Dr. Aaron Lewandowski, an emergency medicine doctor who sees patients at Henry Ford Hospital and Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital.

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