Formation and Function of Acute Stroke–Ready Hospitals Within a Stroke System of Care Recommendations From the Brain Attack Coalition
Background and Purpose—Many patients with an acute stroke live in areas without ready access to a Primary or Comprehensive Stroke Center. The formation of care facilities that meet the needs of these patients might improve their care and outcomes and guide them and emergency responders to such centers within a stroke system of care.
Methods—The Brain Attack Coalition conducted an electronic search of the English medical literature from January 2000 to December 2012 to identify care elements and processes shown to be beneficial for acute stroke care. We used evidence grading and consensus paradigms to synthesize recommendations for Acute Stroke–Ready Hospitals (ASRHs).
Results—Several key elements for an ASRH were identified, including acute stroke teams, written care protocols, involvement of emergency medical services and emergency department, and rapid laboratory and neuroimaging testing. Unique aspects include the use of telemedicine, hospital transfer protocols, and drip and ship therapies. Emergent therapies include the use of intravenous tissue-type plasminogen activator and the reversal of coagulopathies. Although many of the care elements are similar to those of a Primary Stroke Center, compliance rates of ≥67% are suggested in recognition of the staffing, logistical, and financial challenges faced by rural facilities.
Conclusions—ASRHs will form the foundation for acute stroke care in many settings. Recommended elements of an ASRH build on those proven to improve care and outcomes at Primary Stroke Centers. The ASRH will be a key component for patient care within an evolving stroke system of care.
- Received May 24, 2013.
- Accepted September 4, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.