Background and purpose: Intrahospital delay is the most serious obstacle in thrombolysis in acute ischaemic stroke (AIS). We implemented the pre-hospital notification system from the emergency medical information system in our metropolitan area to reduce intrahospital delay.
Methods: From October 2007, we implemented a 24-h hotline system between our stroke center and the Korean Emergency Medical Information System in Busan. We compared processing times and clinical outcomes amongst patients after using intravenous tissue type plasminogen activator (iv t-PA) with and without the hotline system.
Results: After the pre-hospital notification system was implemented, the rate of iv t-PA use increased from 6.5% to 14.3%. Time of onset in patients with pre-hospital notification was much longer than in patients without (121.5 +/- 34.8 min vs. 74.7 +/- 38.5 min, P < 0.01) notification but door-to-needle time was significantly reduced (28.9 +/- 11.4 min vs. 47.7 +/- 22.8 min, P < 0.01). However, there were no significant differences in 90-day clinical outcomes between the two groups.
Conclusions: The pre-hospital notification system reduced intrahospital processing times which led to increased iv t-PA use after AIS. However, the improvement of clinical outcomes in thrombolysis might require organization of not only intrahospital processes but of outside processes such as the early recognition and rapid dispatch of patients with suspected AIS.