Eligibility for intravenous thrombolysis in acute stroke: A multicenter prospective study
Objective: To elucidate the proportion of patients who would have been eligible for alteplase treatment following the ECASS II criteria in a prospective study conducted in 20 Spanish general or university hospitals. Methods: The first 100 consecutive patients with an acute stroke admitted between 9/98 and 4/99 in each participating hospital were evaluated. Data concerning exclusion criteria for tPA, demographic variables, distance to hospital (<5km,5–20km,>20km), time (0–6am,6–12,12–6pm,6–12pm) and place (home, work/street, hospital) of symptoms onset, subject detecting the event (victim, family member, bystander), dispatch system (own initiative, EMS, primary physician, community hospital), delay and type of transport (own transport, basic, or advanced life support ambulance), cardiovascular risk factors, stroke severity (Canadian scale) and type of stroke were recorded. Results: Out of 1599 screened patients, 166 (10.4%) fulfilled all criteria for tPA treatment. Multiple reasons for exclusion were time from onset >6h in 23%, or unknown in 23%, delay in neurological attention >6h in 39%, TC not available within 6h from onset in 34%, hemorrhage in 14%, early signs of infarction involving >33% MCA in 8%, TIA or rapidly improving symptoms in 24%, coma or hemiplegia plus forced eye deviation in 5%, hypertension >185/110 in 2%, coagulation abnormalities in 1%, and other reasons in 6%. Univariate analyses showed that high eligibility for tPA was associated with type of the first medical intervention (emergency medical system)(p=0.006), type of transport (basic or advanced life support ambulance)(p<0.0001), stroke severity (p<0.001), and type of stroke (cardioembolic) (p=0.0027). Age, distance to hospital, time and place of stroke onset, subject detecting the event, and risk factors were not significantly related to eligibility. Conclusions:Candidates for intravenous tPA treatment within 6 hours from stroke onset are 10% of patients admitted in general hospitals of an EU country. Delay in neurologic attention and CT examination were the main reasons for exclusion. Dispatch system, and type of transport were modifiable factors related to eligibility.