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Advance consent could allow individuals at high risk of stroke to provide consent before they might become eligible for enrollment in acute stroke trials. This survey explores the acceptability of this novel technique to Canadian Research Ethics Board (REB) chairs that review acute stroke trials. Responses from 15 REB chairs showed that majority of respondents expressed comfort approving studies that adopt advance consent. There was no clear preference for advance consent over deferral of consent, although respondents expressed significant concern with broad rather than trial-specific advance consent. These findings shed light on the acceptability of advance consent to Canadian ethics regulators.
Advance consent presents a potential solution to the challenge of obtaining informed consent for participation in acute stroke trials. Clinicians in stroke prevention clinics are uniquely positioned to identify and seek consent from potential stroke trial participants. To assess the acceptability of advance consent to Canadian stroke clinic physicians, we performed an online survey. We obtained 58 respondents (response rate 35%): the vast majority (82%) expressed comfort with obtaining advance consent and 92% felt that doing so would not be a significant disruption to clinic workflow. These results support further study of advance consent for acute stroke trials.
We reviewed stroke care delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic at our stroke center and provincial telestroke system. We counted referrals to our prevention clinic, code strokes, thrombolysis, endovascular thrombectomies, and activations of a provincial telestroke system from February to April of 2017–2020. In April 2020, there was 28% reduction in prevention clinic referrals, 32% reduction in code strokes, and 26% reduction in telestroke activations compared to prior years. Thrombolysis and endovascular thrombectomy rates remained constant. Fewer patients received stroke services across the spectrum from prevention, acute care to telestroke care in Ontario, Canada, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Background: For optimal stroke prevention, best practices guidelines recommend carotid endarterectomy (CEA) for symptomatic patients within two weeks; however, 2013 Ontario data indicated that only 9% of eligible patients from outpatient Stroke Prevention Clinics (SPCs) achieved this target. The goal of our study was to identify modifiable system factors that could enhance the quality and timeliness of care among patients needing urgent CEA. Methods: We conducted a retrospective chart review of transient ischemic attack/stroke patients assessed in Champlain Local Health Integrated Network SPCs between 2011 and 2014 who subsequently underwent CEA. Descriptive statistics were used to define patient characteristics, timelines from symptom onset to CEA, and system factors that contributed to delays or improvements in care. Multivariate analysis was used to determine statistically significant variations between groups. Results: Seventy-five records were eligible for study inclusion. Median time from initial symptoms to CEA was 31 days, with 21.3% of patients undergoing surgery within 2 weeks. Significant delays were common in patient presentation and assessment following symptom onset, wait times for vascular imaging and neurological assessment, and time from surgical assessment to CEA completion. Rapid testing and triage, coupled with collaborative initiatives among SPC, surgical, and radiology teams were associated with significantly improved timelines. Conclusions: Success factors for rapid CEA are multifaceted, including system changes that address public awareness of stroke and 911 response, improvements in vascular imaging access, and redesign of clinical services to promote collaboration and fast-tracking of care. Implementation of performance measures to monitor and guide clinical innovations is recommended.
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