Advances in Critical Care/Emergency Medicine 2013
Of the many publications in this field, the ones discussed hereunder seem to be most relevant for clinical practice.
Intravenous thrombolysis with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) is the only therapy proven to improve outcome in ischemic stroke. Studies of intravenous thrombolysis show that response to therapy is time-dependent; the sooner the patients receive tPA, the better the chance of good outcome.1 The required brain imaging before tPA administration delays the initiation of therapy because it necessitates patient transport. In the Pre-Hospital Acute Neurological Treatment and Optimization of Medical Care in Stroke (PHANTOM-S) pilot study, Weber et al2 attempt to speed up stroke treatment by administering tPA before hospital arrival. When patients with presumed stroke contacted the emergency medical system, a stroke emergency mobile unit equipped with a CT scanner was dispatched. Brain imaging was performed at the scene, enabling tPA administration in the stroke emergency mobile unit. For patients in stroke emergency mobile unit, the median time between emergency call and initiation of tPA was 58 minutes (5–63); this time was 92 minutes (79–112) in a group of historic controls. The PHANTOM-S study was a nonrandomized study performed in urban Germany. A randomized controlled study performed in a more rural region of Germany showed a similar relative decrease in the time to tPA treatment among patients treated in a CT-equipped mobile stroke unit compared with those treated in the emergency room.3 These studies show that CT-equipped mobile stroke units decrease the time to tPA …