Background: Mobile Stroke Units (MSU) are growing in numbers throughout the U.S. and abroad, with numerous staffing configurations, telemedicine, and differing imaging capabilities. We aimed to test the diagnostic accuracy and treatment safety, alongside time to diagnosis and treatment delivery of a novel advanced practice provider (APP) led MSU team.
Methods: We launched an MSU housing a hospital-grade Siemens Somatom CT with CTA capabilities, and hired APPs with advanced neurovascular practitioner board certification to lead field medical diagnosis and order/initiate treatment for encountered stroke patients. Consecutive MSU patients were evaluated for differences between APPs and Vascular Neurologists (VNs) diagnosis and management, and scene diagnosis and treatment times were collected.
Results: Agreement between APP field medical diagnosis and MD hospital diagnosis was 100%; stroke mimic diagnosis agreement was 98%. Overall agreement for field interpretation of CT/CTA was 97%, with discrepancies not associated with stroke treatment decisions. MDs’ agreement with APPs’ identification/treatment of ICH was 100%, and IVtPA treatment decisions 98% (APPs more conservative). Scene arrival to medical diagnosis (including clinical exam and imaging completion/interpretation) ranged from 7-10 minutes, of which 4 minutes were CT/CTA start to finish times. Scene arrival to IVtPA bolus ranged from 16 minutes to 33 minutes and was driven primarily by need for control of excessive hypertension, with scene arrival to start of nicardipine premix infusion ranging from 10-14 minutes.
Conclusions: Use of an APP-led MSU is safe and non-inferior to VN diagnosis/management, and may be faster than telemedicine guided MSU treatment.