Background: An increasing shortage of vascular neurologists forced an academic provider to find a city-wide solution to offer 24x7 access to intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) across independent and competing health care systems in the area. We sought to prospectively evaluate the annual IVT treatment delivery in our population and compare it to leading stroke centers worldwide.
Methods: The largest single ER system and 3 other independent hospital providers in the area agreed to work with a single practice plan vascular neurology team (catchment area of 1,344,127 individuals). All acute ischemic stroke patients that were treated with IVT across all primary or tertiary care centers in our area were prospectively documented over a 12-month period (January-December 2015). A literature search was performed using narrative review methodology to document similar population-based treatment rates across leading stroke centers in North America, Europe and Australasia.
Results: A total of 552 patients received IVT with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) in 2015. Single ER system delivered 433 IV tPA treatments and 119 more patients were treated in the remaining hospitals. The annual tPA treatment rate was 41 per 100.000 individuals (95%CI: 38-44) favorably comparable to published annual treatment rates from leading international stroke centers (Table, 1998 thru 2015).
Conclusions: A city-wide vascular neurology team can attend to patient populations across competing health care systems in the U.S. and deliver IVT at volumes and rates above those reported by leading treatment centers worldwide. Communities with competing systems can improve tPA delivery by sharing vascular neurology resources.