Xian, Y., Smith, E. E., Zhao, X., Peterson, E. D., Olson, D. M., Hernandez, A. F., Bhatt, D. L., Saver, J. L., Schwamm, L. H., Fonarow, G. C. Strategies used by hospitals to improve speed of tissue-type plasminogen activator treatment in acute ischemic stroke Stroke. 2014;45(5):1387-95.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The benefits of intravenous tissue-type plasminogen activator in acute ischemic stroke are time dependent, and several strategies have been reported to be associated with more rapid door-to-needle (DTN) times. However, the extent to which hospitals are using these strategies and their association with DTN times have not been well studied.

METHODS: We surveyed 304 Get With The Guidelines-Stroke hospitals joining Target: Stroke regarding their baseline use of strategies to reduce DTN times in the January 2008 to December 2009 time frame before the initiation of Target: Stroke and determined the association between hospital strategies and DTN times.

RESULTS: Among 5460 patients receiving tissue-type plasminogen activator within 3 hours of symptom onset in surveyed hospitals, the median DTN time was 72 minutes (interquartile range, 55-94). Reported use of the different strategies varied considerably. Of 11 hospital strategies analyzed individually by multivariable analysis, 3 strategies were independently associated with shorter DTN times. These included rapid triage/stroke team notification (209/304 [69%] hospitals, 8.1-minute reduction in DTN time), single-call activation system (190/304 [63%] hospitals, 4.3 minutes), and tissue-type plasminogen activator stored in the emergency department (189/304 [62%] hospitals, 3.5 minutes). When analyzed incrementally, hospitals that used a greater number of strategies had shorter DTN times with 1.3 minutes (adjusted mean difference) saved for each strategy implemented (14 minutes if all strategies were used).

CONCLUSIONS: Although the majority of participating hospitals reported using some strategy to reduce delays in tissue-type plasminogen activator administration for acute ischemic stroke, the strategies applied vary considerably and those most strongly associated with shorter DTN times were applied relatively less frequently.