Background: We aim to evaluate the feasibility and safety of a direct transfer to the angio-suite protocol for acute stroke patients candidates for endovascular treatment (EVT).
Methods: Starting June 2016, patients with pre-hospital stroke code activation (RACE≥4) admitted within 4.5h from symptoms-onset were directly transferred on admission to angio-suite (DTA) bypassing the emergency room. After Xpert-CT in the angio-suite for parenchymal evaluation, femoral puncture and EVT were performed as usual. Patients following DTA were compared to all patients with same admission criteria treated with EVT in the previous 2 years (control group, CG).
Results: Of the 16 patients that followed DTA, 1 (6%) showed an intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) on Xpert-CT and 15 underwent EVT, representing 50% of EVT admitted within 4.5h or 34% of all EVT performed in the study period. 56% of DTA patients had previous neuroimaging at a primary stroke center, 44% were primary admissions with no previous neuroimaging. Baseline characteristics including age (71 Vs 72 years; p=0.71) and admission NIHSS (18.5 Vs 18;p=0.68) were comparable. Median time from admission to groin puncture was significantly shorter in DTA patients (15 minutes IQR:13-19 Vs 65 IQR:45-10;p<0.01). Rate of no treatable occlusion on initial angiogram was 13.3% in DTA Vs 2.4% in CG (p=0.17). Procedural time (36 Vs 55 minutes;p=0.034) was shorter in the DTA group, while recanalization (TICI 2b-3: 86% Vs 81%;p=0.24) and symptomatic ICH rates(6.7% Vs 6.6%;p=0.98) and 24h NIHSS (10 Vs 10.5; p=0.81) were comparable. The total time from admission to recanalization was significantly shorter when DTA was applied (median 52 Vs 123;p<0.01).
Conclusion: In a subgroup of acute stroke patients presenting in the early window, direct transfer and triage in the angio-suite seems feasible, safe and achieves a significant reduction in hospital workflow times.