A 54-year-old man with a suspected stroke was admitted to a small clinical facility about 288 kilometres away from the tertiary stroke care centre with the thrombolysis facility.
When the staff at the hospital contacted us, we requested them to send the CT brain images via Whatsapp on iPhone5. Whatsapp is a communication software which runs on various mobile platforms. The image quality was excellent and was read off and a diagnosis of a left MCA territory lacunar stroke was made.
The initial management was discussed over phone and was initiated at the peripheral clinical facility. Subsequently, the patient was transferred next day to the tertiary centre and had an MRI brain which confirmed the diagnosis. The patient made a good recovery and was discharged home.
In low and middle income countries, stroke care remains disorganised. There are not enough facilities for specialised stroke care. There is no scope of web-based PACS services which can connect the tertiary hospitals with the smaller peripheral hospitals in an organised manner. Given the circumstances, the Whatsapp running on a mobile phone affords an innovative solution in stroke care. The clinical information coupled with the images sent via Whatsapp could help the stroke specialists make clinical decisions and help the smaller facilities provide better stroke care.