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1 in 3 stroke emergencies don't use EMS
Date:4/29/2013

More than a third of stroke patients don't get to the hospital by ambulance, even though that's the fastest way to get there, according to new research in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal.

Researchers studied records on more than 204,000 stroke patients arriving at emergency rooms at 1,563 hospitals participating in the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines-Stroke quality improvement program in 2003-10. Emergency medical services (EMS) transported 63.7 percent of the patients, with the rest arriving in various other ways, researchers said.

During a stoke emergency, quick treatment is critical. EMS transported 79 percent of those who got to the hospital within two hours of the start of their symptoms. That resulted in earlier arrival, quicker evaluation and faster treatment, said the researchers who found:

  • Almost 61 percent of people transported by EMS got to the hospital within three hours of the first symptoms, compared to 40 percent who didn't use EMS;
  • Almost 55 percent using EMS had a brain scan within 25 minutes of hospital arrival, compared to 35.6 percent who didn't use EMS;
  • Of patients eligible for a clot-busting drug, 67.3 percent using EMS received it within three hours of symptom onset, compared to 44.1 percent who didn't use EMS.

"EMS are able to give the hospital a heads up, and that grabs the attention of the emergency room staff to be ready to act as soon as the patient arrives," said Jeffrey L. Saver, M.D., senior author of the study and director of the UCLA Comprehensive Stroke Center in Los Angeles, Calif. "The ambulance crew also knows which hospitals in the area have qualified stroke centers. Patients don't lose time going to one hospital only to be referred to another that can provide more advanced care if needed, whether that's drugs to bust up the clot or device procedures to remove it."


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Contact: Cathy Lewis
cathy.lewis@heart.org
214-706-1324
American Heart Association
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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