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J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2015 Feb;24(2):465-72. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2014.09.020. Epub 2014 Dec 15.

A systemized stroke code significantly reduced time intervals for using intravenous tissue plasminogen activator under magnetic resonance imaging screening.

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Busan-Ulsan Regional Cardio-Cerebral Vascular Center, Dong-A University Hospital, Busan, Republic of Korea.
Busan-Ulsan Regional Cardio-Cerebral Vascular Center, Dong-A University Hospital, Busan, Republic of Korea. Electronic address:



A stroke code can shorten time intervals until intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV t-PA) treatment in acute ischemic stroke (AIS). Recently, several reports demonstrated that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based thrombolysis had reduced complications and improved outcomes in AIS despite longer processing compared with computed tomography (CT)-based thrombolysis.


In January 2009, we implemented CODE RED, a computerized stroke code, at our hospital with the aim of achieving rapid stroke assessment and treatment. We included patients with thrombolysis from January 2007 to December 2008 (prestroke code period) and from January 2009 to May 2013 (poststroke code period). The IV t-PA time intervals and 90-day modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores were collected.


During the observation period, 252 patients used IV t-PA under the CODE RED (MRI based: 208; CT based: 44). The remaining 71 patients (MRI based: 53; CT based: 18) received it before the implementation of our stroke code. After implementation of CODE RED, door-to-image time, door-to-needle time, and the onset-to-needle time were significantly reduced by 11, 18, and 22 minutes in MRI-based thrombolysis. Particularly, the proportion of favorable outcome (mRS score 0-2) was significantly increased (from 41.5% to 60.1%, P = .02) in poststroke than in prestroke code period in MRI-based thrombolysis. However, in ordinal regression, the presence of stroke code showed just a trend for favorable outcome (odds ratio, .99-2.87; P = .059) at 90 days of using IV t-PA after correction of age, sex, and National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale.


In this study, we demonstrated that a systemized stroke code shortened time intervals for using IV t-PA under MRI screening. Also, our results showed a possibility that a systemized stroke code might enhance the efficacy of MRI-based thrombolysis. In the future, we need to carry out a more detailed prospective study about this notion.


MRI; stroke code; t-PA; thrombolysis

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