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STEMO – voices and opinions: Press conference to mark ten years of STEMO mobile stroke units

8 February 2021

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STEMOs (Stroke-Einsatz-Mobile) have been serving Berlin for ten years. These specialized stroke emergency response vehicles allow physicians to start treating stroke patients before they reach hospital. For the first time, a team of researchers from Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin was able to show that the dispatch of mobile stroke units is linked to improved clinical outcomes, with patients more likely to survive without long-term disability. The researchers’ findings, which have been published in JAMA*, were presented at today’s press conference.

Michael Müller (left), Governing Mayor of Berlin and Senator for Higher Education and Research, and Prof. Dr. Heyo K. Kroemer, Charité’s Chief Executive Officer, at the press conference. Photo: Peitz/Charité

Details of the research and its findings can be found in a separate press release. At the press conference, a number of project stakeholders provided additional insights into the findings:

Michael Müller, Governing Mayor of Berlin and Senator for Higher Education and Research: “Our shared ambition for Berlin as a health care metropolis is to fully exploit scientific knowledge to drive improvements in health care. The study presented today illustrates the potential of the STEMO mobile stroke units and the many lives they have been able to save. It’s a major achievement by all those who have been involved in this initiative over the past few years: the fire brigade’s emergency response staff, but also the hospitals, medical staff and researchers.”

Prof. Dr. Heyo K. Kroemer, Charité’s Chief Executive Officer: “STEMO is a wonderful example of the way in which the practical application of research findings delivers benefits for patients. We are in no doubt as to the potential of early treatment in time-sensitive medical emergencies. At Charité, this area of research will therefore remain the focus of intensive study – as seen current efforts within the NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence.”

Prof. Dr. Martin Dichgans, President of the European Stroke Organisation  (ESO) and Director of the Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research at LMU Munich: “The study shows just how time-critical thrombolysis is and that it is therefore only logical to move treatment to the pre-hospital care setting wherever this is possible.” 

Prof. Dr. Matthias Endres, Head of Charité’s Department of Neurology and Experimental Neurology: “Without the fantastic collaboration of all partners involved, from the Berlin Fire Department, Vivantes and Unfallkrankenhaus Berlin to the team from Charité, this project would not have been possible. We are particularly pleased that our STEMO-based care was able to deliver measurable improvements in the care provided to patients with stroke.”

Dr. Johannes Danckert, Executive Director of Hospital Management,  Vivantes: “Vivantes treats approximately 40 percent of all stroke patients in Berlin. It is only logical that we would also wish to be actively involved in the important pre-clinical care setting. The highly professional STEMO team at Klinikum Neukölln, which is being led by Prof. Dr. Nabavi, has demonstrated an outstanding level of commitment and made a decisive contribution to advancing emergency care within the city.”

Prof. Dr. Darius Günther Nabavi, Head of the Department of Neurology (with Stroke Unit), Vivantes Klinikum Neukölln: “The concept behind the STEMO initiative convinced us from the beginning and, as a result, won the support of the entire team. The fact that the research was able to prove the extent to which patients benefit from STEMO mobile stroke units makes me happy as well as proud.”

Prof. Dr. Axel Ekkernkamp, Executive Officer and  Medical Director, Unfallkrankenhaus Berlin (ukb): “The ukb STEMO is the only one in the eastern part of Berlin and serves approximately 1.2 million citizens. In nearly four years: 6,800 callouts, 4,400 patients – 2,000 of whom with stroke – and 380 life-saving thrombolysis procedures in patients ranging from 26 to 103 years. I am impressed by these numbers, but I am also impressed by the high level of expertise, the constant readiness and teamwork displayed by the fire fighters, radiology assistants and physicians.

*Ebinger M et al., Association Between Dispatch of Mobile Stroke Units and Functional Outcomes Among Patients With Acute Ischemic Stroke in Berlin. JAMA  2021;325(5):454-466. doi: 10.1001/jama.2020.26345