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CJEM. 2016 Jul;18(4):283-7. doi: 10.1017/cem.2015.111. Epub 2015 Dec 14.

Stroke Education in Canadian Emergency Medicine Residency Programs.

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*Department of Emergency Medicine,Kelowna General Hospital,Kelowna, BC.
‡Division of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine,University of British Columbia,Vancouver, BC.
§Department of Family Practice,University of British Columbia,Vancouver, BC.
†Department of Emergency Medicine,University of British Columbia,Vancouver, BC.



Stroke and transient ischemic attack (TIA) are common disorders treated by Canadian emergency physicians. The diagnosis and management of these conditions is time-sensitive and complex, requiring that emergency physicians have adequate training. This study sought to determine the extent of stroke and TIA training in Canadian emergency medicine residency programs.


A two-page survey was emailed to directors of all English-speaking emergency medicine residency programs in Canada. This included both the Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada (FRCPC) and the College of Family Physicians Enhanced Training [CCFP(EM)] residency programs. The number of mandatory and elective rotations, lectures, and examinations relevant to stroke and TIA were assessed.


Nine FRCPC programs responded (of 11; RR=82%) and 11 CCFP(EM) programs responded (of 18; RR=61%), representing 20 of 29 programs in Canada (RR: 20/29=69%). Mandatory general neurology (3/9) and stroke neurology (2/9) rotations were offered in a minority of FRCPC programs and not at all in CCFP(EM) programs (0/11). Neuroradiology rotations were mandatory in 1/9 FRCPC programs and no CCFP(EM) programs (0/11). Acute ischemic stroke was allocated 3 hours of lecture time per year in all residency programs, regardless of route of training. Despite the fact that 100% of respondents train residents in facilities that administer thrombolysis for stroke, only 1/11 (9%) CCFP(EM) programs and 0/9 FRCPC programs have residents act as stroke team leaders.


Formal training in stroke and TIA is limited in Canadian emergency medicine residency programs. Enhanced training opportunities should be developed as this disease is sudden, life-threatening, and can have disabling or fatal consequences, and therapeutic options are time sensitive.


emergency medicine; medical education; stroke; transient ischemic attack

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