Abstract W P189: Characteristics of Rural Pre-Hospital Stroke Transports
Introduction: West Virginia (WV) is the second most rural state and has a stroke prevalence of 3%. According to the United States Census Bureau, 97.3% of the land is considered rural and 51.3% of the population lives in a rural area. EMS transport times in Northern WV often exceed 20 minutes in rural counties. Little data has been published about EMS response to acute stroke patients in the rural setting.
Methods: This was a retrospective cohort study of EMS response and interventions for patients with chief complaint of stroke in the MedCom database providing medical command for 26 northern WV counties. Stroke encounters from January 1, 2002 to December 31, 2011 were analyzed for EMS provider capability, receiving hospital capability, and pre-hospital interventions.
Results: There were 7,594 transports available for analysis. Basic Life Support (BLS) responders provided 7.0% of the care. The majority of the patients, 51.6%, were transported to an acute care hospital, 11.6% to a critical access hospital, and 36.9% to a designated stroke center. Blood glucose was determined by glucometer in 66.4% of patients with 2.0% treated for hypoglycemia. Vascular access was attempted in 92.6% of the patients and was successful in 81.5%. Cardiac monitor was applied in 92.4% of the patients and oxygen saturation was determined by pulse oximetry in 95.8%. Oxygen therapy was administered to 96.5% of the patients.
Discussion: In rural northern WV, 7% of the suspected stroke patients had care by only a BLS responder. Although evaluation at a designated stroke center has been shown to increase the chance for receiving acute thrombolytic intervention, less than 40% of patients in northern WV were initially seen at a designated stroke center and 11.6% were initially seen at a critical access hospital. Consequently, even critical access hospitals need to be prepared to rapidly evaluate and treat patients with suspected ischemic stroke. Blood glucose was not checked by EMS personnel in more than 30% of all transports. Additional studies are needed to assess the impact of these pre-hospital procedures and transport destination decisions on suspected stroke patient outcomes in the rural setting.
Author Disclosures: C. Whiteman: None. D. Paulson: None. R. Sikora: None. R. Doerr: None. S. Davis: None. D. Davidov: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.