Tissue Plasminogen Activator for Rural Referrals; the Effect of Stroke Team Notification Prior to Arrival
Background: Many rural community hospitals (RCH) in Southwestern Ontario lack a CT scanner. The stroke team (ST) in London provides tertiary care to these RCH. Advance notification of transfer of non-London patients (NLP) from RCH allows the ST to manage them from arrival at the LER. In contrast, the ST is notified of London patients (LP) after their arrival and registration in the London ER (LER). Objective: Assess feasibility of tPA administration to rural patients transferred to a tertiary care center. Methods: Mean symptom to LER, door to imaging, imaging to tPA, and door to tPA (DtPA) for LP and NLP times were compared. In-patients were excluded from the analysis. Results: Between Dec 1, 98 and Jun 30, 00, 61 patients were treated with tPA in London: 16 (26%) were NLP, 45 (74%) were local (37 LP, 8 in-patients). For NLP the mean symptom to RCH time was 37 mins, the mean RCH to LER distance was 41 miles (range 11–80) and the mean transfer time was 90 mins. (range 46–138). Symptom onset to LER time was significantly longer for NLP, but door to imaging, imaging to tPA, and DtPA were significantly lower (p< 0.001, see table). Conclusions: 1. The establishment of a network of RCH and a tertiary center can extend the benefits of tPA to a rural population. 2. DtPA can be shortened if the ST manages the patients from arrival to the ER. This strategy could be applied to local patients if EMS notifies the ST of potential candidates for tPA.