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Stroke. 2007 Oct;38(10):2765-70. Epub 2007 Aug 23.

The impact of ambulance practice on acute stroke care.

Author information

  • 1National Stroke Research Institute, Level 1 Neurosciences Building, Austin Health, 300 Waterdale Road, Heidelberg Heights Victoria 3181, Australia. imosley@nsri.org.au

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Few patients with acute stroke are treated with alteplase, often due to significant prehospital delays after symptom onset. The aims of this study were to: (1) identify factors associated with rapid first medical assessment in the emergency department after a call for ambulance assistance, and (2) determine the impact of ambulance practice on times from the ambulance call to first medical assessment in the emergency department.

METHODS:

During a 6-month period in 2004, all ambulance-transported patients with stroke or transient ischemic attack arriving from a geographically defined region in Melbourne, Australia (population 383,000) to one of 3 hospital emergency departments were assessed prospectively. Ambulance records including the tape recording of the call for ambulance assistance and hospital medical records, were analyzed.

RESULTS:

One hundred ninety-eight patients were included in the study. One hundred eighty-seven ambulance patient care records were complete and available for analysis. Factors associated with first medical assessment in the emergency department <60 minutes from the ambulance call and <10 minutes from hospital arrival were: Glasgow Coma Scale <13 (P<0.001 and P=0.021) and hospital prenotification (P=0.04 and P<0.001). Paramedic stroke recognition and hospital prenotification were associated with shorter times from the ambulance call to first medical assessment (P=0.001 and P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Paramedic stroke recognition and hospital prenotification are associated with shorter prehospital times from the ambulance call to hospital arrival and in-hospital times from hospital arrival to first medical assessment. This highlights the importance of including ambulance practice in comprehensive care pathways that span the whole process of stroke care.

PMID:
17717317
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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