Background: It has been established that safety and outcomes of intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) to stroke patients via telestroke (TS) is similar to those presenting to stroke centers. Little is known on the accuracy of TS diagnosis among those receiving IVT. We sought to compare the rate of stroke mimic (SM) patients receiving IVT in our TS network to those who present to our comprehensive stroke center (CSC).
Methods: Consecutive patients receiving IVT between August 2014 and June 2015 were identified at our CSC and TS network. The rates of SM patients in each cohort were calculated. Outcomes measured included rates of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH), in-hospital mortality, and discharge to home or an acute rehabilitation unit (ARU).
Results: During the study period, 132 patients (mean age 71±15 years, 49% women) receiving IVT were included in the analysis (75 CSC, 57 TS). Rates of SM patients receiving IVT were similar (CSC 12% vs TS 7%, p=0.39). One stroke patient developed sICH, and three other stroke patients experienced in-hospital mortality; neither outcome was found in the SM cohort. Discharge to home or ARU was similar between stroke (76.5%) and SM (76.9%) patients (p=1). Patients with SMs had significantly higher diagnoses of migraine (p=0.045) and psychiatric disorders (p=0.0002) compared to stroke patients.
Conclusion: The rate of IVT among SM patients via TS is low and similar to those who present directly to a stroke center. Continued efforts should be made to further minimize IVT in SM patients despite the low rate of complications.