Saving Time to Save Your Brain

The interior of Canada's first Stroke Ambulance 

Strokes can happen anytime, anywhere. Canada’s first Stroke Ambulance will expand our capacity to save the lives of stroke patients.

Your support is critical to keeping the University of Alberta Hospital the go-to centre for stroke care in northern Alberta, the Territories, eastern British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

Stroke Ambulance


The goal of the Stroke Ambulance is to reduce time between stroke onset and treatment, and give more Albertans the chance to survive and live without life-changing deficits. How? By sending the Stroke Ambulance to the patient, instead of waiting for the patient to get to the stroke centre.

Our Stroke Ambulance will be the first in the world to provide stroke patient care beyond the limits of a major urban centre. That’s significant, because nearly 25% of the more than 1300 stroke patients who received acute stroke care at the University of Alberta Hospital in 2014 came from beyond the Edmonton zone.

Reducing the high cost of stroke patient care
Currently, stroke patient care costs $80,000 to $110,000 per year, depending on the degree of disability. Multiplied by 300, the number of patients expected to be served by the stroke ambulance every year, the total annual cost for stroke patient care – for just those Albertans who suffer a stroke in one year - rises to $24-33 million.

Transformational impact of community support

The University Hospital Foundation has raised more than $42 million to advance brain care through its Brain Centre Campaign. Your support will help serve patients with debilitating brain conditions in Edmonton, Central and Northern Alberta.

"The Stroke Ambulance is a tremendous example of the transformational impact the community can have on healthcare.”
Jim Brown, Brain Centre Campaign Co-Chair

Researching impact
The Stroke Ambulance is part of a three year pilot project that will look at:

  • How quickly patients were treated;
  • Where those patients came from;
  • What their prognosis would have been without treatment; and
  • The degree to which that prognosis was changed by the Stroke Ambulance.


Meeting growing demands

Adding a second neurovascular interventional suite will help meet growing demands for stroke care at the University of Alberta Hospital.

For some stroke patients, clot-busting medication (tPA) is not enough. That's why clot retrieval procedures have become a critical component of acute stroke treatment. Having two advanced Neurovascular Interventional (NVI) suites enables doctors to provide more of this life-saving stroke care.

endovascular thrombectomy

Advanced technology guides clot-removal procedure

The most important technology in neurovascular interventional suites is the biplane angiography system. This system produces highly detailed 3D views of blood vessels leading to, and deep within, the brain. With these images, interventional neuroradiologists can safely navigate the vessels of the brain with a microcatheter to remove blood clots that will not respond to clot-busting medication. Blood flow is restored within minutes.The most severe strokes, the ones with a success rate of 5-15% with clot-busting drugs, occur in the largest arteries.

Connecting with Stroke Ambulance

The Stroke Ambulance will bring patients to the University of Alberta Hospital. CT images taken inside the ambulance will provide neurologists with the information they need to determine the type of stroke before the patient even arrives at the hospital. If required, the patient will be sent for a CT angiogram, a specialized CT scan to determine whether there’s a blood clot in one of the larger artieries in the brain causing the stroke.


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