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To determine the effectiveness of an Acute Stroke Triage Pathway in reducing door to needle times in acute stroke treatment with IV t-PA.
A previous study at our tertiary referral centre, examining IV t-PA door to needle times, was completed in 2000. The median door to needle time was beyond the recommended National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) standard of 60 minutes. In November 2001, an Acute Stroke Triage Pathway was introduced in the emergency room (ER) to address this issue. The goal of this pathway was to rapidly identify patients eligible for treatment for IV t-PA, so that CT scans and lab studies could be arranged immediately upon ER arrival. Our hypothesis was that the Triage Pathway would shorten door to CT and door to needle times.
Using retrospective data, pre (n=87) and post (n=47) triage pathway times were compared. The door to CT time was reduced by 11 minutes (p=0.015) and door to needle time was reduced by 18 minutes (p=0.0036) in a subgroup of patients that presented directly to our hospital.
These results indicate that the Acute Stroke Triage Pathway is effective in reducing Door to CT and Door to Needle Times in patients presenting directly to our ER. However, a majority of treatment times were still beyond NINDS recommendations. Stroke Centers require periodic review of their efficiency to ensure that target times are being obtained and may benefit from the use of an Acute Stroke Triage Pathway.
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