Ambulance services and stroke alerts reduce the time from stroke onset to acute stroke diagnosis. We describe the use of stroke alerts and ambulance services in different hospitals and patient groups and their relationship with reperfusion therapy.
This nationwide study included 49,907 patients admitted with acute stroke who were registered in The Swedish Stroke Register (Riksstroke) in 2011-2012.
The proportions of patients admitted as stroke alerts out of all acute stroke admissions varied from 12.2% to 45.7% in university hospitals (n = 9), 0.5% to 38.7% in specialized nonuniversity hospitals (n = 22), and 4.2% to 40.3% in community hospitals (n = 41). Younger age, atrial fibrillation (AF), living in an institution, reduced consciousness upon admission, and hemorrhagic stroke were factors associated with a higher probability of stroke alerts. Living alone, primary school education, non-European origin, previous stroke, diabetes, smoking, and dependency in activities of daily living (ADL) were associated with a lower probability of stroke alert. The proportion of patients arriving at the hospital by ambulance varied from 60.3% to 94.5%. Older age, living alone, primary school education, being born in a European country, previous stroke, AF, dependency in ADL, living in an institution, reduced consciousness upon admission, and hemorrhagic stroke were associated with ambulance services. Hospital stroke alert frequencies correlated strongly with reperfusion rates (r = .75).
Acute stroke alerts have a significant potential to improve stroke reperfusion rates. Prehospital stroke management varies conspicuously between hospitals and patient groups, and the elderly and patients living alone have a markedly reduced likelihood of stroke alerts.
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