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BMJ. 2002 Jul 6;325(7354):17.

A multicentre observational study of presentation and early assessment of acute stroke.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Guy's King's, and St Thomas's Medical School, London SE5 9PJ.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate delays in the presentation to hospital and evaluation of patients with suspected stroke.

DESIGN:

Multicentre prospective observational study.

SETTING:

22 hospitals in the United Kingdom and Dublin.

PARTICIPANTS:

739 patients with suspected stroke presenting to hospital.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Time from onset of stroke symptoms to arrival at hospital, and time from arrival to evaluation by a senior doctor.

RESULTS:

The median age of patients was 75 years, and 400 were women. The median delay between onset of symptoms and arrival at hospital was 6 hours (interquartile range 1 hour 48 minutes to 19 hours 12 minutes). 37% of patients arrived within 3 hours, 50% within 6 hours. The median delay for patients using the emergency service was 2 hours 3 minutes (47 minutes to 7 hours 12 minutes) compared with 7 hours 12 minutes (2 hours 5 minutes to 20 hours 37 minutes) for referrals from general practitioners (P<0.0001). Use of emergency services reduced delays to hospital (odds ratio 0.45, 95% confidence interval 0.23 to 0.61). The median time to evaluation by a senior doctor was 1 hour 9 minutes (interquartile range 33 minutes to 1 hour 50 minutes) but was undertaken in only 477 (65%) patients within 3 hours of arrival. This was not influenced by age, sex, time of presentation, mode of referral, hospital type, or the presence of a stroke unit. Computed tomography was requested within 3 hours of arrival in 166 (22%) patients but undertaken in only 60 (8%).

CONCLUSION:

Delays in patients arriving at hospital with suspected stroke can be reduced by the increased use of emergency services. Over a third of patients arrive at hospital within three hours of stroke; their management can be improved by expediting medical evaluation and performing computed tomography early.

Comment in

PMID:
12098723
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC116666
Free PMC Article
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