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Stroke. 2003 Mar;34(3):799-800. Epub 2003 Feb 13.

Quality improvement and tissue-type plasminogen activator for acute ischemic stroke: a Cleveland update.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Ave, S91, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.



A systematic audit of intravenous tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) use and stroke outcomes in Cleveland, Ohio, during 1997-1998 demonstrated higher rates of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) than reported in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) trial. We now report updated results of intravenous tPA use in the Cleveland Clinic Health System (CCHS).


A stroke quality improvement program was initiated in the 9-hospital CCHS in 1999. A retrospective chart review for all stroke patients with primary International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification diagnosis codes 434 and 436 admitted to the 9 hospitals from June 1999 to June 2000 was used to determine outcomes of patients treated with intravenous tPA.


Intravenous tPA was given to 18.8% of patients arriving within 3 hours of symptom onset. Protocol deviations occurred in 19.1% of patients given intravenous tPA. The symptomatic ICH rate was 6.4%.


Since 1997, intravenous tPA use has increased, while the rates of symptomatic ICH and protocol deviations have decreased in the CCHS. The CCHS symptomatic ICH rate is now similar to that reported in the NINDS trial. These improvements occurred after initiation of a stroke quality improvement program.

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