Objectives: To assess time management of stroke thrombolysis triage and functional outcomes in patients receiving recombinant tissue plasminogen activator for hyperacute stroke, and identify bottlenecks in delivery of the treatment.
Design: Prospective study.
Setting: A university teaching hospital in Hong Kong.
Patients: Patients with suspected hyperacute stroke referred to the stroke thrombolysis team during October 2008 to September 2009.
Main outcome measures: Time performance records including door-to-stroke team, door-to-needle, and onset-to-thrombolysis times. Functional outcomes by modified Rankin Scale score at 3 months, and thrombolysis-related complications including haemorrhagic transformations and mortality.
Results: During the 12-month period, 95 thrombolysis calls were received; recombinant tissue plasminogen activator was given intravenously to 17 (18%) of the patients and intra-arterially to 11 (12%). The mean (standard deviation) door-to-stroke team and the door-to-needle times for intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator patients were 33 (25) and 80 (25) minutes, respectively; both were about 20 minutes longer than that recommended by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The mean National Institute of Health Stroke Scale score for patients received intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator was 16 (standard deviation, 7). The mean (standard deviation) onset-to-treatment time was 144 (42) minutes. Nine (53%) patients who received intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator achieved favourable outcomes at 3 months, with a modified Rankin Scale score of 0 to 1. Symptomatic haemorrhage and mortality occurred in one (6%) patient.
Conclusion: A dedicated stroke triage pathway is essential to ensure efficient and safe delivery of thrombolysis therapy. Improvements in door-to-stroke team time through integration with emergency medicine staff and neuroradiologists may improve thrombolysis eligibility.