Introduction: Lack of additional utility over non-contract computed tomography (NCCT) in decision making and delay in door to needle time are arguments used against routine computed tomographic angiography (CTA) use in acute ischemic stroke management. We compare interval times during a CTA based acute ischemic stroke protocol with an earlier non-CTA based protocol at our center.
Methods: We reviewed 850 stroke thrombolysis patients in a university hospital in Canada from April 1996 to December 2009. Time to treatment was divided into the following interval times: onset-to-door, door-to-needle and onset-to-needle. Patients were categorized into: Group 1 (April 1996-Dec 2002) (Non-contrast CT Scan based thrombolysis) n=297, Group 2 (Jan 2004-Dec 2009) (CTA based thrombolysis) n=504. The period from Jan to Dec 2003 (n=49) was considered a washout period as we had started the CTA protocol that year. Interval times were compared between the two groups.
Results: Interval times in Group 1 and Group 2 were: median onset-to-door times in Group 1 [55 minutes (IQR 48),] and Group 2 [61 minutes (IQR 57)] (p=0.019); median door-to-needle times in Group 1 [67 minutes(IQR 43)] and Group 2 [62.5 minutes (IQR 52)] (p=0.519); median onset-to-needle times in Group 1 (139 minute (IQR 73)] and Group 2 (141.5 min (IQR 109.5) (p=0.468). In multivariable linear regression analysis, age and onset-to-door time influenced the door-to-needle time. For every decade of age, door-to-needle times were 5.4 minutes faster.
Conclusions: CTA based thrombolytic approach for acute ischemic stroke does not significantly delay thrombolysis in routine clinical practice.