Background and Purpose: Minimizing time from symptom onset to recanalization is crucial to maximizing outcome. Approaches to save time in ET cases including processes to reduce door-to-recanalization times need to be explored.
Methods: We performed a retrospective review of consecutive ischemic stroke patients transferred to our comprehensive stroke center (CSC) from March 2014 to April 2015. Demographic and clinical data were collected. We compared adverse events (hemorrhagic transformation [HT], DVT, PE, urinary tract infection [UTI], pneumonia [PNA], bacteremia), door-to-recanalization time, and short-term outcomes in patients that were evaluated in the emergency department (ED) prior to ET and patients that were transferred directly to the endovascular suite, bypassing the ED.
Results: Among the 776 consecutive ischemic stroke patients admitted to our center during the 14-month period, 7% (n=49) received acute ET. Twenty-six of these patients (53%) were transferred to our CSC for ET. Among transfers, 58% (n=15) bypassed the ED. Patients that bypassed the ED had a higher frequency of adverse events (53% vs. 27%, p=0.246), but shorter arrival to recanalization times when compared to patients that did not skip the ED (median 89 vs. 109 minutes p=0.637). Poor functional outcome, as measured by modified Rankin scale (mRS) score of 4-6, was similar between groups (67% vs. 64%, p=1.000), but in-hospital mortality was more frequent in the ED bypass group (33% vs. 18%, p=0.658).
Conclusions: In our sample of acute ischemic patients transferred for acute ET, nearly 60% of patients bypassed the ED, reducing time to recanalization. This time savings was associated with a clinically higher proportion of adverse events. Standardized protocols for patients transferred to acute ET are needed to reduce time to recanalization without increasing adverse event rates.