Improvement in thrombolytic therapy administration in acute stroke with feedback

Can J Neurol Sci. 2012 Nov;39(6):789-92. doi: 10.1017/s0317167100015626.


Background: The benefits of intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) in acute ischemic stroke is time dependent. Guidelines recommend a door-to-needle (DTN) time of less than 60 minutes.

Methods: A retrospective audit of 730 stroke charts from 2008 - 2011 was conducted at Health Sciences Centre. 158 patients treated with IV rt-PA were identified. The time intervals between Emergency Department (ED) arrival, administration of rt-PA and uninfused brain computed axial tomographic scan (CT) were recorded. From this, CT to needle times were calculated. During November 2010 to January 2011 feedback was given to neurologists, ED physicians, ED nurses, and CT technologists. This raised awareness and emphasized the importance of this time driven protocol.

Results: The median DTN times for 2008, 2009, and 2010 were 69, 71 and 76 minutes respectively. The median CT-to-needle time for this time period was 47 minutes. In 2011 (n =58) the median DTN time was 49 minutes and the median CT-to-needle was 18 minutes, which were marked improvements (p<0.00005 and p<0.005, respectively). In 2008-2010 only 31% of treated patients (n=100) received rt-PA within 60 minutes, whereas in 2011 this increased to 64%.

Conclusions: Dramatic improvements in DTN times and in the percentage of patients receiving rt-PA treatment within 60 minutes were observed in 2011 after feedback was provided regarding the suboptimal performance. Prior to receiving feedback, DTN times were similar to national median DTN times. All centres administering rt-PA for acute ischemic stroke should monitor their clinical performance and give feedback on a regular basis.

MeSH terms

  • Feedback*
  • Female
  • Fibrinolytic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Health Personnel / psychology
  • Humans
  • Infusions, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stroke / therapy*
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / methods*
  • Time Factors
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator / administration & dosage*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Fibrinolytic Agents
  • Tissue Plasminogen Activator