The Stockholm Stroke Triage Project: Outcomes of Endovascular Thrombectomy Before and After Triage Implementation

Stroke. 2022 Feb;53(2):473-481. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.121.034195. Epub 2021 Sep 29.


Background and purpose: The Stockholm Stroke Triage System (SSTS) is a prehospital algorithm for detection of endovascular thrombectomy (EVT)-eligible patients, combining symptom severity assessment and ambulance-to-hospital teleconsultation, leading to a decision on primary stroke center bypass. In the Stockholm Region (6 primary stroke centers, 1 EVT center), SSTS implementation in October 2017 reduced onset-to-EVT time by 69 minutes. We compared clinical outcomes before and after implementation of SSTS in an observational study.

Methods: We prospectively recruited patients transported by Code Stroke ambulance within the Stockholm region under the SSTS, treated with EVT during October 2017 to October 2019, and compared to EVT patients from 2 previous years.

Outcomes: shift in modified Rankin Scale (mRS) scores, mRS score 0 to 1, mRS score 0 to 2, and death (all 3 months), National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score change 24-hour post-EVT, recanalization (Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction 2b-3), and symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage. mRS outcomes were adjusted for age and baseline NIHSS.

Results: Patients with EVT in the SSTS group (n=244) were older and had higher baseline NIHSS versus historical controls (n=187): median age 74 (interquartile range, 63-81) versus 71 (61-78); NIHSS score 17 (11.5-21) versus 15 (10-20). During SSTS, median onset-to-puncture time was 136 versus 205 minutes (P<0.001). Adjusted common odds ratio for lower mRS in SSTS patients was 1.7 (95% CI, 1.2-2.3) versus controls. During SSTS, 83/240 (34.6%) versus 44/186 (23.7%) reached 3-month mRS score 0 to 1 (P=0.014), adjusted common odds ratio 2.3 (95% CI, 1.4-3.6). Median NIHSS change 24-hour post-EVT was 6 versus 4 (P=0.005). Differences in Thrombolysis in Cerebral Infarction, symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage, and death were nonsignificant.

Conclusions: With an onset to arterial puncture time reduction by 69 minutes, outcomes in thrombectomy-treated patients improved significantly after region-wide large artery occlusion triage system implementation. These results warrant replication studies in other geographic and organizational circumstances.

Keywords: cohort studies; emergency medical services; stroke; thrombectomy; thrombolytic therapy; time-to-treatment; triage.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Endovascular Procedures / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Remote Consultation
  • Stroke / therapy*
  • Sweden
  • Thrombectomy / methods*
  • Thrombolytic Therapy
  • Time-to-Treatment
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triage / methods*