PLUMBER Study (Prevalence of Large Vessel Occlusion Strokes in Mecklenburg County Emergency Response)

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Background and Purpose—The recently proposed American Heart Association/American Stroke Association EMS triage algorithm endorses routing patients with suspected large vessel occlusion (LVO) acute ischemic strokes directly to endovascular centers based on a stroke severity score. The predictive value of this algorithm for identifying LVO is dependent on the overall prevalence of LVO acute ischemic stroke in the EMS population screened for stroke, which has not been reported.Methods—We performed a cross-sectional study of patients transported by our county’s EMS agency who were dispatched as a possible stroke or had a primary impression of stroke by paramedics. We determined the prevalence of LVO by reviewing medical record imaging reports based on a priori specified criteria.Results—We enrolled 2402 patients, of whom 777 (32.3%) had an acute stroke–related diagnosis. Among 485 patients with acute ischemic stroke, 24.1% (n=117) had an LVO, which represented only 4.87% (95% confidence interval, 4.05%–5.81%) of the total EMS population screened for stroke.Conclusions—Overall, the prevalence of LVO acute ischemic stroke in our EMS population screened for stroke was low. This is an important consideration for any EMS stroke severity-based triage protocol and should be considered in predicting the rates of overtriage to endovascular stroke centers.

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