Background: We sought to assess the effects of participation in a tele-stroke program on timeliness of intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IVtPA) administration.
Methods: Among 259 consecutive acute ischemic stroke patients treated with IVtPA through the Rush tele-stroke program, we compared two cohorts: Period 1 (July 2011 to June 2013) and Period 2 (July 2013 to July 2014). We collected data on demographics, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS), and times of last known normal (LKN), initiation of tele-stroke consult, and IVtPA administration.
Results: The mean age was 69.6 years, 56% were female, the mean NIHSS was 11.8, and 41.7% patients were transferred to the hub site. The mean time from initiation of tele-stroke consult to IVtPA administration was 42.2 min. Time from initiation of tele-stroke consult to IVtPA administration improved from Period 1 to Period 2 (49.9 min vs. 35 min, p < 0.0001). This improvement was due to faster mean time from initiation of tele-stroke consult to IVtPA advised (17.4 min vs. 12.5 min, p < 0.0001) and faster mean time from IVtPA advised to administration (33.1 min vs. 22.5 min, p < 0.0001). The mean time from LKN to IVtPA given was also significantly improved (148.6 min vs. 160.9 min, p 0.045).
Conclusions: Participation in a tele-stroke program associated with improvement in the timeliness of IVtPA delivery.
Keywords: intravenous thrombolysis; tele-stroke; telemedicine.