Background: This study aims to develop a simple scale to identify patients with prehospital stroke with large vessel occlusion (LVO), without losing sensitivity for other stroke types.
Methods: The Emergency Medical Stroke Assessment (EMSA) was derived from the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) items and validated for prediction of LVO in a separate cohort. We compared the EMSA with the 3-item stroke scale (3I-SS), Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Severity Scale (C-STAT), Rapid Arterial oCclusion Evaluation (RACE) scale, and Field Assessment Stroke Triage for Emergency Destination (FAST-ED) for prediction of LVO and stroke. We surveyed paramedics to assess ease of use and interpretation of scales.
Results: The combination of gaze preference, facial asymmetry, asymmetrical arm and leg drift, and abnormal speech or language yielded the EMSA. An EMSA less than 3, 75% sensitivity, and 50% specificity significantly reduced the likelihood of LVO (LR- = .489, 95% confidence interval .366-0.637) versus 3I-SS less than 4 (.866, .798-0.926). A normal EMSA, 93% sensitivity, and 47% specificity significantly reduced the likelihood of stroke (LR- = .142, .068-0.299) versus 3I-SS (.476, .330-0.688) and C-STAT (.858, .717-1.028). EMSA was rated easy to perform by 72% (13 of 18) of paramedics versus 67% (12 of 18) for FAST-ED and 6% (1 of 18) for RACE (χ2 = 27.25, P < .0001), and easy to interpret by 94% (17 of 18) versus 56% (10 of 18) for FAST-ED and 11% (2 of 18) for RACE (χ2 = 21.13, P < .0001).
Conclusions: The EMSA has superior abilities to identify LVO versus 3I-SS and stroke versus 3I-SS and C-STAT. The EMSA has similar ability to triage patients with stroke compared with the FAST-ED and RACE, but is simpler to perform and interpret.
Keywords: Prehospital stroke care; emergency medical services; stroke scales; stroke systems of care.
Copyright © 2018 National Stroke Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.