Background and purpose: The purpose of these guidelines is to provide an up-to-date comprehensive set of recommendations for clinicians caring for adult patients with acute arterial ischemic stroke in a single document. The intended audiences are prehospital care providers, physicians, allied health professionals, and hospital administrators. These guidelines supersede the 2013 guidelines and subsequent updates.
Methods: Members of the writing group were appointed by the American Heart Association Stroke Council's Scientific Statements Oversight Committee, representing various areas of medical expertise. Strict adherence to the American Heart Association conflict of interest policy was maintained. Members were not allowed to participate in discussions or to vote on topics relevant to their relations with industry. The members of the writing group unanimously approved all recommendations except when relations with industry precluded members voting. Prerelease review of the draft guideline was performed by 4 expert peer reviewers and by the members of the Stroke Council's Scientific Statements Oversight Committee and Stroke Council Leadership Committee. These guidelines use the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association 2015 Class of Recommendations and Levels of Evidence and the new American Heart Association guidelines format.
Results: These guidelines detail prehospital care, urgent and emergency evaluation and treatment with intravenous and intra-arterial therapies, and in-hospital management, including secondary prevention measures that are appropriately instituted within the first 2 weeks. The guidelines support the overarching concept of stroke systems of care in both the prehospital and hospital settings.
Conclusions: These guidelines are based on the best evidence currently available. In many instances, however, only limited data exist demonstrating the urgent need for continued research on treatment of acute ischemic stroke.
Keywords: AHA Scientific Statements; secondary prevention; stroke; therapeutics.
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