Pre-hospital management of acute stroke patients eligible for thrombolysis - an evaluation of ambulance on-scene time

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Background Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability with effective treatment, including thrombolysis or thrombectomy, being time-critical for favourable outcomes. While door-to-needle time in hospital has been optimized for many years, little is known about the ambulance on-scene time (OST). OST has been reported to account for 44% of total alarm-to-door time, thereby being a major time component. We aimed to analyse ambulance OST in stroke patients eligible for thrombolysis and identify potential areas of time optimization. Methods A study-specific registration form was developed to record detailed information about OST consumption in cases where the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) suspected a stroke from July 2014–May 2015. Registration forms were completed by ambulance personnel and included details on estimated time spent: 1) localising patient, 2) clinical examination, 3) consulting with the on-call neurologist, 4) mobilising patient to the ambulance, 5) treatment in ambulance before departure. Additionally, estimated total OST was noted. For patients found eligible for further evaluation at a stroke centre, time points were analysed using multivariate Poisson regressions. Results A total of 520 cases were included. The median OST was 21 min (Interquartile Range (IQR) 16–27). Time consumption was significantly lower (17 vs 21 min, p = 0.0015) when electrocardiography (ECG) was obtained in-hospital instead of on-scene, when intravenous (IV) access was established during transportation instead of before transportation (17 vs 21 min, p < 0.0001), and when the quality of communication with the stroke centres was rated as “good” as opposed to “acceptable/poor” (21 vs 23 min, p = 0.014). Neither the presence of relatives nor ambulance trainees had a significant effect on OST. Conclusions In-hospital ECG recording and IV cannulation during transport were found to reduce OST, while “acceptable/poor” communication was found to prolong OST relative to “good” communication. These components of pre-hospital stroke management represent potential opportunities for lowering OST with relatively simple changes, which could ultimately lead to earlier treatment and better patient outcome.
TidsskriftScandinavian Journal of Trauma, Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 2019

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