Background and purpose: The objective of this study was to determine the baseline proportion of emergency physicians with favorable attitudes and beliefs toward intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) use in a cohort of randomly selected Michigan hospitals.
Methods: Two hundred seventy-eight emergency physicians from 24 hospitals were surveyed. A confidential, self-administered, pilot-tested survey assessing demographics, practice environment, attitudes, and beliefs regarding tPA use in stroke was used. Main outcome measures assessed belief in a legal standard of care, likelihood of use in an ideal setting, comfort in use without a specialist consultation, and belief that science on tPA use is convincing. ORs with robust 95% CIs (adjusted for clustering) were calculated to quantify the association between responses and physician- and hospital-level characteristics.
Results: One hundred ninety-nine surveys completed (gross response rate 71.6%). Ninety-nine percent (95% CI: 97.8 to 100) indicated use of tPA in eligible patients represented either acceptable or ideal patient care. Twenty-seven percent (95% CI: 21.7 to 32.3) indicated use of tPA represented a legal standard of care. Eighty-three percent (95% CI: 78.5 to 87.5) indicated they were "likely" or "very likely" to use tPA given an ideal setting. When asked about using tPA without a consultation, 65% (95% CI: 59.3 to 70.7) indicated they were uncomfortable. Forty-nine percent (95% CI: 43.0 to 55.0) indicated the science regarding use of tPA in stroke is convincing with 30% remaining neutral. Characteristics associated with favorable attitudes included non-emergency medicine board certification; older age, and a smaller hospital practice environment.
Conclusions: In this cohort, emergency physician attitudes and beliefs toward intravenous tPA use in stroke are considerably more favorable than previously reported.