Background: There is growing support for the need for process improvement surrounding treatment of acute ischemic stroke, specifically, reducing time to reperfusion in endovascular therapy (EVT). Streamlining protocols from patient presentation to revascularization can lead to improved timelines to treatment and functional outcomes.
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify the impact on specific hospital based process improvement strategies in the acute ischemic stroke patient population undergoing endovascular therapy with specific intent to decrease median arrival to revascularization time, thus increasing the potential for good functional outcome.
Methods: The study includes a pre- and post-intervention retrospective review of patients 18 years or older, hospital admission between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2015, who underwent EVT for treatment acute ischemic stroke. The primary outcome variable was time from arrival to revascularization during the acute ischemic stroke admission. The secondary outcome variables were specific to functional outcome analysis in the acute ischemic stroke patient. The data points were collected from the local America Heart Association’s Get with the Guidelines-Stroke (GWTG) dataset.
Results: Twenty eight consecutive endovascular ischemic stroke patients were reviewed, pre process improvement (PI) (Group 1, n=10) and post PI (Group 2, n=18). There were no significant differences between baseline characteristics between the groups. The primary outcome analysis revealed significant improvement in door to revascularization between the pre and post PI groups, 2:56 and 2:11 (p=.002) respectively, a 45 minute decrease in time to treatment. Rates of good clinical outcomes (modified Rankin Scale 0-2 at 3 months) were similar in both groups, 33.3% pre PI and 46.2% post PI (p=0.59).
Conclusions: Hospital based PI initiatives including: early notification, streamlined transport process, and utilization of feedback tool significantly improve door to revascularization times and can potentially lead to improved functional outcomes in the acute ischemic stroke patient undergoing EVT.