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Acute ischemic stroke may affect women and men differently. We aimed to evaluate sex differences in outcomes of endovascular treatment (EVT) for ischemic stroke due to large vessel occlusion in a population-based study in Alberta, Canada.
Methods and Results:
Over a 3-year period (April 2015–March 2018), 576 patients fit the inclusion criteria of our study and constituted the EVT group of our analysis. The medical treatment group of the ESCAPE trial had 150 patients. Thus, our total sample size was 726. We captured outcomes in clinical routine using administrative data and a linked database methodology. The primary outcome of our study was home-time. Home-time refers to the number of days that the patient was back at their premorbid living situation without an increase in the level of care within 90 days of the index stroke event. In adjusted analysis, EVT was associated with an increase of 90-day home-time by an average of 6.08 (95% CI −2.74–14.89, p-value 0.177) days in women compared to an average of 11.20 (95% CI 1.94–20.46, p-value 0.018) days in men. Further analysis revealed that the association between EVT and 90-day home-time in women was confounded by age and onset-to-treatment time.
We found a nonsignificant nominal reduction of 90-day home-time gain for women compared to men in this province-wide population-based study of EVT for large vessel occlusion, which was only partially explained by confounding.
Alteplase is an effective treatment for ischaemic stroke patients, and it is widely available at all primary stroke centres. The effectiveness of alteplase is highly time-dependent. Large tertiary centres have reported significant improvements in their door-to-needle (DTN) times. However, these same improvements have not been reported at community hospitals.
Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre (RDRHC) is a community hospital of 370 beds that serves approximately 150,000 people in their acute stroke catchment area. The RDRHC participated in a provincial DTN improvement initiative, and implemented a streamlined algorithm for the treatment of stroke patients. During this intervention period, they implemented the following changes: early alert of an incoming acute stroke patient to the neurologist and care team, meeting the patient immediately upon arrival, parallel work processes, keeping the patient on the Emergency Medical Service stretcher to the CT scanner, and administering alteplase in the imaging area. Door-to-needle data were collected from July 2007 to December 2017.
A total of 289 patients were treated from July 2007 to December 2017. In the pre-intervention period, 165 patients received alteplase and the median DTN time was 77 minutes [interquartile range (IQR): 60–103 minutes]; in the post-intervention period, 104 patients received alteplase and the median DTN time was 30 minutes (IQR: 22–42 minutes) (p < 0.001). The annual number of patients that received alteplase increased from 9 to 29 in the pre-intervention period to annual numbers of 41 to 63 patients in the post-intervention period.
Community hospitals staffed with community neurologists can achieve median DTN times of 30 minutes or less.
The cost-effectiveness of endovascular therapy (EVT) compared to tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) alone for acute ischemic stroke (AIS) has been established in the literature. However, decision-makers still face challenges of how to best deliver EVT in a timely manner to maximize patient outcomes while minimizing the burden to the healthcare system, given that AIS has time-dependent treatment outcomes. The objective of this presentation is to report an optimization approach for improving health system value and outcomes for patients with AIS who are eligible for EVT in Alberta.
An economic model was developed to compare combinations of “mothership” (transport directly to a comprehensive stroke center [CSC] to receive tPA and EVT) and “drip-and-ship” (transport to a primary stroke centre to receive tPA, followed by transport to a CSC to receive EVT) methods across Alberta. The model considered geographical variation and searched for the best delivery methods through a pairwise comparison of all possible strategies. The controlled variables including in the model were population densities, disease epidemiology, time/distance to hospitals, available medical services, treatment eligibility and efficacy, and costs. Patient outcomes were measured by functional independence. The model defined optimal strategies by identifying the transport methods that produced the highest probability of improved health outcomes at the lowest cost.
The analysis produced an optimization map showing optimal strategies for EVT delivery. The lifetime cost (standard deviation [SD]) per patient and likelihood (SD) of good outcomes was CAD 291,769 (CAD 11,576) [USD 226,207 (USD 8,975)] and 41.82 percent (0.013) when considering optimal clinical outcomes, and CAD 287,725 (CAD 4,141) [USD 223,097 (USD 3,211)] and 41.67 percent (0.016) when considering optimal economic efficiency.
Our model reduces the gap that exists between health technology implementation and cost-effectiveness analysis; namely, neither fully addresses relative efficiency driven by geographical variation, which may misrepresent system value in local settings. Implementation strategies generated in our model capture full values in terms of patient outcomes and costs.
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