Introduction: In Japan, endovascular treatment for acute ischemic stroke from large vessel occlusion should be performed by neurointerventionists. However, most hospitals in rural area , that offer treatment for cerebral vascular disease do not have access to a neurointerventionist; the rural areas are especially affected. Thus, Our University has offered support to institutions without a neurointerventionist, to perform endovascular treatment. The neurointerventionists stationed in other hospitals drive to retrieve the resultant clot since the acute ischemic stroke from large vessel occlusion. We called this the “drive and retrieve system” method, and launched the prospective trial to evaluate the validity and efficacy of this method. Herein, we report the initial results of this trial.
Methods: Nine institutes across our affiliated hospitals within a one-hour drive from Sapporo City took part in this trial. Three of these 9 institutes that have a full-time neurointerventionist were registered as the source. When an episode of acute ischemic stroke requiring intervention occurred in the other 6 hospitals, the available neurointerventionist provided treatment based on the drive and retrieve method. The neurointerventionists’ schedules was updated and distributed to all participating units twice a week, so that the supported hospitals could immediately make contact when required. We analysis the data of 44 cases in this trial from July 2015 to April 2016.
Results: For 41 out of 44 cases (93%), Neurointerventionaists were able to respond immediately. The median time from door-to-puncture was 90 min (interquartile range [IQR]: 72-125). The median time from puncture to recanalization was also 76 min (IQR: 57.5-99.5). The recanalization rate (TICI 2b/3) was 77 %. mRS 0-2 was 39%.
Conclusion: The drive and retrieve system has the potential to support rural medical institutes that do not have access to a full-time neurointerventionist.