Abstract 20: Acute Stroke Care and Thrombolysis at Critical Access Hospitals in Illinois
Background: Critical access hospitals (CAH) are the first point of stroke care in many rural regions of the United States (US). The Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN), a network of 51 CAH in Illinois, began a quality improvement program to address acute stroke care in 2009. We evaluated the performance on several metrics in acute stroke care at CAH between 2009 and 2011.
Methods: Currently, 28 of 51 CAHs in Illinois currently participate in the American Heart Association’s Get With The Guidelines - Stroke (GWTG-S) registry for quality improvement. The GWTG-S registry captured elements including demographics, diagnosis, times of arrival, imaging completion, and intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (IV tPA) administration, and final discharge disposition. We analyzed the change in percent of stroke patients receiving tPA, door-to-needle (DTN) time, and proportion of total stroke patients admitted versus transferred to another facility over the 3 years. Fisher’s exact and Mann-Whitney tests were used as appropriate.
Results: In the baseline assessment (2009), there were 111 strokes from 8 sites which grew to 12 sites and 305 strokes in year 1 (2010) and 14 sites and 328 strokes in year 3 (2011). The rate of tPA use for ischemic stroke was 2.2% in 2009, 4.0% in 2010, and 6.2% in 2011 (P=0.20). EMS arrival (41.1%), EMS pre-notification (82.6%), door-to-CT times (median 35 minutes; 34.6% < 25 minutes), and DTN times (average 93 minutes; 13.3% DTN time < 60 minutes) were not different over time. The rate of transfer from CAH to another hospital (51.3%) was constant. Every patient that received tPA except 1 (96.9%) was transferred (drip-ship) for post-tPA care.
Conclusions: Improving acute stroke care at CAHs is feasible and represents a significant opportunity to increase tPA utilization in rural areas. As stroke systems develop, it is vital that CAHs be included in quality improvement efforts. The ICAHN stroke collaborative provided the opportunity to coordinate resources, share best practices, participate in targeted educational programming, and utilize data for performance improvement through the funded GWTG-S registry.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.