Comprehensive Overview of Nursing and Interdisciplinary Care of the Acute Ischemic Stroke Patient
A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association
- AHA Scientific Statements
- stroke, ischemic
- stroke management
- emergency service, hospital
- tissue plasminogen activator
- nursing care
Ischemic stroke represents 87% of all strokes.1 As worldwide initiatives move forward with stroke care, healthcare providers and institutions will be called on to deliver the most current evidence-based care. The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) charged a panel of healthcare professionals from several disciplines with developing a practical, comprehensive overview of care for the patient with acute ischemic stroke (AIS). This article focuses on educating nursing and allied healthcare professionals about the roles and responsibilities of those who care for patients with AIS.
Nurses play a pivotal role in all phases of care of the stroke patient. For the purposes of this article, the writing panel has defined 2 phases of stroke care: (1) The emergency or hyperacute care phase,2,3 which includes the prehospital setting and the emergency department (ED), and (2) the acute care phase, which includes critical care units, intermediate care units, stroke units, and general medical units.
Stroke is a complex disease that requires the efforts and skills of all members of the multidisciplinary team. Nurses are often responsible for the coordination of care throughout the continuum.4–9 Coordinated care of the AIS patient results in improved outcomes, decreased lengths of stay, and decreased costs.10
In developing this comprehensive overview, the writing panel applied the rules of evidence and formulation of strength of evidence (recommendations) used by other AHA writing groups11 (Table 1). We also cross-reference other AHA guidelines as appropriate.