Abstract T P74: Mild Stroke in a Telemedicine Network: Identification, Treatment, and Outcomes
Introduction: "Mild" stroke is not well defined, but is a relative contraindication for the administration of IV rtPA. Advances in telemedicine have allowed for specialized practitioners to observe the examination, rather than rely on the on-scene examiner. We investigated whether there were differences in rates of identification, treatment, and outcomes of mild stroke patients in the phone compared to the video arms of a telestroke network.
Methods: The STRokE DOC trials were prospective, randomized, outcome-blinded trials comparing video telemedicine to phone-only evaluations, which assessed eligibility for IV rtPA and correctness of decision-making for 2 hubs and 6 spokes. This analysis included all adult acute ischemic stroke patients from the STRokE DOC trials who were defined as “mild” using a recent definition from the TREAT Task Force. Rates of ICH, mortality, and dichotomized 90-day mRS scores were compared between the video and phone arms.
Results: Mild stroke accounted for 32% and 29% of the video and phone arms, respectively. The two groups had similar baseline characteristics except hypertension (higher rate in video arm). Of the video mild stroke patients, 13% had poor outcome (mRS>1) compared to 24% of the phone arm (p=0.45). There were no symptomatic ICH or deaths. Among IV rtPA treated mild stroke patients, all of the video arm had good outcome, versus 25% of the phone arm. Of 100 non-treated patients, 34 were excluded because of "too mild" a deficit (TMT). In the phone arm, 7 of these did not meet the TREAT-derived criteria for mild stroke (p=0.03). One TMT patient in the phone arm had poor outcome.
Conclusions: Mild stroke made up a third of the patients in each group. Some TMT patients in the phone arm did not meet the criteria for mild stroke; their subtle findings may not have been conveyed adequately over the phone. Among IV rtPA treated patients, the phone arm had worse outcomes. The results raise concern regarding accuracy of predicting outcomes for mild stroke patients, especially when based on a phone description. The study numbers were small, so conclusions cannot be definitively made. Future studies are necessary to determine decision making factors within the telemedicine process that influence treatment outcomes among mild stroke patients.
Author Disclosures: I. Spokoyny: None. R. Raman: None. K. Ernstrom: None. D.M. Meyer: None. T.M. Hemmen: Consultant/Advisory Board; Modest; Merck. B.M. Demaerschalk: None. B.C. Meyer: Research Grant; Significant; P50 NS044148 (Therapeutic Window for Acute Stroke Therapy). Speakers' Bureau; Modest; Genentech.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.