Background: Specialized CT-equipped stroke ambulances can shorten time to intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) in acute ischemic stroke. Although efficacy of thrombolytic treatment is known to be time-sensitive, effects of pre-hospital thrombolysis on functional outcomes have not yet been evaluated.
Methods: We compared outcomes of all consecutive stroke patients who received thrombolysis during the same period cared for either by the Berlin Stroke Emergency Mobile (STEMO) or within conventional care (normal ambulance and in-hospital thrombolysis). Treatment and outcomes were documented in prospective registries. Patients who lived at home without assistance prior to their stroke were included. Primary outcome was modified Rankin Scale (mRS) ≤1 at 3 month. Secondary outcome was 3-month mortality. Outcomes were adjusted in multivariable regression for demographics, co-morbidities and stroke severity.
Results: From Feb. 5, 2011 to Mar 5, 2015, 427 patients were treated on STEMO and 513 in conventional care. 303 (mean age: 71y, female gender: 48%, median NIHSS: 7) and 357 (mean age: 70y, female gender: 36%, median NIHSS: 7) of them had lived at home without assistance pre-stroke, respectively. Mean onset to treatment time was 34 minutes shorter in STEMO care (96±60 vs. 130±56min). The primary outcome of mRS≤1 was observed in 167 (55%) and 168 (47%) patients (p=0.039); 17 (6%) vs 38 (11%) had died (p=0.02), respectively. Adjusted odds ratios were favorable for STEMO care: OR 1.56 (95%-CI: 1.11-2.20; p=0.01) for mRS≤1 and OR 0.50 (95%-CI: 0.26-0.98; p=0.04) for death.
Conclusions: The data suggest that earlier start of IVT by specialized prehospital stroke care leads to improved outcome.