Introduction: American Stroke Association guidelines recommend pre-hospital stroke code notification via EMS to facilitate prompt treatment decision for acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients. Despite pre-notification to the stroke team, treatment decisions are often delayed until medical history and last known well times are established.
Hypothesis: We hypothesized that screening for IV Alteplase candidacy and obtaining pertinent medical history from a witness or patient during a pre-hospital stroke code activation prior to hospital arrival would decrease door to needle (DTN) times.
Methods: A retrospective analysis was conducted on 193 patients presenting to the emergency department (ED) at a Comprehensive Stroke Center (CSC) from February 2016 through July 2016. A process improvement (PI) event was initiated between the CSC and two fire stations with a catchment time of > 10 minutes. For pre-hospital activated stroke codes, the witness or patient was provided the contact card and encouraged to call the centralized number to the Neurologist. Inclusion criteria: All patients presenting to the ED with EMS pre-hospital stroke code activation. Exclusion criteria: Patients presenting to the ED with stroke code initiated after arrival, or medic response events which did not lead to a pre-hospital stroke code activation.
Results: After applying criteria, 126 met inclusion and exclusion criteria. A total of 19 patients arrived via the 2 fire stations with pre-hospital stroke code initiations and serve as our intervention group, while 107 patients underwent standard of care. Contact cards were provided to 11 patients (58%) in the intervention group prior to arrival. IV Alteplase was initiated for 3 of 11 patients (27.3%) in the intervention group vs. 19 of 107 patients (17.8%) in the standard of care group. Mean and median DTN times in the intervention group was 36 minutes as compared to a mean of 46.1 minutes and median time of 40 minutes receiving standard of care.
Conclusions: Preliminary data suggest that DTN times can be decreased when medical history is obtained prior to hospital arrival to screen for IV Alteplase eligibility. This study warrants further investigation in pre-acquisition of history for pre-hospital stroke code patients.