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Prehospital identification of large vessel occlusion (LVO) stroke may expedite treatment by direct transport to comprehensive stroke centers (CSCs) with endovascular capabilities. The Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale (CPSS) is commonly used for prehospital stroke detection. We aimed to assess whether (1) a high CPSS score can identify LVO and (2) an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) redirection protocol based on high CPSS accelerated endovascular treatment (EVT).
A retrospective comparison of patients transported by EMSs for suspected stroke to a high-volume CSC over a 16-month period, before and after implementation of an EMS redirection protocol based on high CPSS score (3/3). Charts were reviewed to determine the presence of LVO. Time to EVT and 3-month outcomes were compared before and after implementation.
A prehospital CPSS 3/3 score was found in 223 (59%) patients, demonstrating positive and negative predictive values for LVO of 29% and 94%, respectively. CPSS-based EMS redirection increased the proportion of EVT performed after direct transport to CSC [before: 21 (36%), after: 45 (63%), p < 0.01] and decreased median first door-to-groin puncture time by 28 minutes [109 (interquartile range (IQR) 64–116) versus 81 (IQR 56–130), p = 0.03]. At 3 months, the proportion of patients achieving functional independence (modified Rankin score 0–2) went from 20/57 (35%) to 29/68 (43%) (p = 0.39) following implementation.
CPSS-based EMS redirection accelerated identification of LVO strokes in the out-of-hospital setting and decreased time to EVT. Nevertheless, this protocol was also associated with high rates of non-LVO stroke. Impact on clinical outcomes should be evaluated in a larger cohort.