Introduction: Strokes are one of the leading causes of death and disability. Time-sensitive therapies are available including IV-TPA and endovascular therapies which require rapid and effective triage. Endovascular therapies are available at comprehensive stroke centers (CSC). We evaluated if there was any improvement in outcomes for patients who are transported directly to a CSC.
Hypothesis: Patients that receive acute interventions for stroke have improved outcomes when transferred directly to CSC as compared to transport to a PSC and then transferred to a interventional facility.
Methods: A retrospective cohort study of 5,188 patients transported from January 2012 to December 2013 with an EMS provider impression of suspected stroke via both air and ground transport. Of these, data was complete for 1,196 patients with a confirmed discharge diagnosis of ischemic stroke. Pre-hospital data was abstracted from EMS charts. Ischemic strokes were identified by final hospital discharge diagnosis and good functional status was defined as a modified Rankin scale <3 at discharge. Categorical outcomes were tested using Fishers Exact Test and Ordinal outcomes using the Mann Whitney Test.
Results: For those with complete data mortality was 10% (CI 8.3-11.7) in this cohort with good functional outcomes in 37% (CI 34.3-39.7) of patients. IV- TPA was administered to 293 (24%) and endovascular interventions were performed in 167 (14%). There were 739 (63%) inter-facility transfers and 442 (37%) received directly from the scene. Transport to the CSC occurred by air in 798 (67%) cases as compared to 398 (33%) by ground. Mortality and good functional outcome did not differ between patients transferred and those taken directly to the CSC. Among patients receiving either TPA or endovascular therapy, direct transport to the CSC is associated with good functional outcome (Fisher’s exact= 0.041) but not with mortality.
Conclusions: Among patients with a diagnosis of ischemic stroke presenting to a CSC, there is no difference in mortality and good functional outcome as a function of transfer from the scene or transfer from another facility. However, among those who received tPA or endovascular intervention good functional outcome was associated with direct presentation to the CSC.