Despite benefit, hospitals not always alerted of incoming stroke patients

American Heart Association: July 10, 2012.

Study Highlights:
  • Stroke patients receive faster treatment when emergency medical services (EMS) personnel notify hospitals a possible stroke patient is en route.
  • However, emergency personnel fail to alert hospitals of incoming stroke patients in nearly one-third of cases.
  • Researchers say improved stroke care systems can address geographical and other factors affecting EMS pre-notification.
EMBARGOED UNTIL 3 pm CT/4 pm ET, Tuesday, July 10, 2012
DALLAS, July 10, 2012 — Treatment is delivered faster when emergency medical services (EMS) personnel notify hospitals a possible stroke External link patient is en route, yet pre-notification doesn’t occur nearly one-third of the time. That’s according to two separate Get With The Guidelines®– Stroke program studies published in American Heart Association journals.
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association recommends EMS notify hospitals of incoming stroke patients to allow stroke teams to prepare for prompt evaluation and treatment. Quick response is vital for stroke patients, particularly those with ischemic stroke External link, when a clot cuts off the blood supply to a portion of the brain. Clot-busting drugs can only be given within a limited time — three to 4.5 hours after the onset of symptoms.
For both studies, researchers examined the records of 371,988 acute ischemic stroke patients transported by EMS to one of 1,585 hospitals participating in the Get with The Guidelines–Stroke quality improvement program between 2003 and 2011. Read More