Improving Outcomes with MindRhythm

By Wade Smith, MD, PhD, Founder and Chair, Scientific Advisory Board

I am a neurologist, training in intensive care (Neurointensivist) and stroke (Vascular Neurology). I am currently a clinician-scientist and full professor of neurology at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) with a passion to help cure the most serious form of stroke. I first trained as an electrical engineer, then in medical school, I received a PhD in Neurophysiology. I also started the stroke program at UCSF, alongside my mentor, Daryl Gress, MD.

When I came to UCSF, I met two young women about ten days apart who died from a large vessel stroke (basilar artery occlusion) and I set my sights on figuring out a better method to treat stroke in humans. That was in 1992, and by 2004 we had FDA approval of the MERCI device (cork-screw-like catheter).

This led to a large field of research whereby catheters were improved in effectiveness and were shown to significantly improve the lives of patients with large vessel occlusion (LVO) stroke. Specifically, by 2015, six randomized clinical trials all showed that newer designs of the catheters clearly improved outcomes and so this treatment paradigm was adopted internationally.

As the co-founder and current president of the Neurocritical Care Society, the only professional society representing multi-disciplinary teams of neurocritical care providers around the world with more than 2,500 members, I’m truly passionate about improving outcomes for patients with life-threatening neurological illnesses. I also co-wrote Emergency Neurological Life Support (ENLS), a collection of protocols medical professionals can follow to help a patient during the first hour of a neurological emergency. This training course has been taught on every continent, except Antarctica, and is translated into three languages.

My current focus is on getting patients to the right hospital quickly. By measuring a novel biophysical phenomena called the "HeadPulse" discovered by Dr. Paul Lovoi in acute stroke patients, we could tell if a patient is having an LVO stroke with high accuracy. After the study of numerous patients at UCSF, Paul and I felt we had a tool that we could bring to paramedics to help them rapidly triage patients from the field directly to comprehensive stroke centers, saving precious time and improving outcomes.

MindRhythm was founded for this purpose and I am looking forward to making a highly effective, portable, and inexpensive device available to all first responders.