Background: It has been suggested that there is a “weekend effect” resulting in higher mortality rates for stroke patients admitted on weekends. We examine this phenomenon for acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients presenting to telestroke (TS) sites to determine its effect on stroke code process times and outcomes.
Methods: From October 2015-June 2017, we reviewed consecutive AIS patients receiving IV alteplase within our TS network who then were transferred to our CSC. We compared patients presenting to TS sites on weekdays (Monday 0700 to Friday 1859) to patients presenting on weekends (Friday 1900 to Monday 0659). We analyzed door to code activation, code activation to TS evaluation, door to imaging, and door to needle times. Rates of favorable outcome (modified Rankin Scale score ≤2) and death at 90 days were compared.
Results: We identified 89 (54 weekday, 35 weekend) patients (mean age 71.8±13.3 years, 47.2% women) during the study period. Median door to code activation (15 [5, 27] vs 8 [1, 17] mins, p=0.01) and door to needle (61 [49, 73] vs 47 [35, 59] mins, p=0.003) times were significantly longer for patients presenting on weekends compared to weekdays. There were no significant differences in median door to imaging (weekend 17 [7, 30] vs weekday 11 [6, 21], p=0.1) and code activation to TS evaluation (weekend 7 [6, 10] vs weekday 5 [4, 9], p=0.14) times. The rates of favorable outcome (weekend 50% vs weekday 66.7%, p=0.18) and death (weekend 8.3% vs weekday 4.8%, p=0.56) at 90 days were not significantly different.
Conclusion: While there were no significant differences in outcomes, the “weekend effect” results in slower door to code activation and door to needle times. Efforts to improve methods in increasing efficiency of care on weekends should be considered.