Ultraearly thrombolysis by an anesthesiologist in a mobile stroke unit: A prospective, controlled intervention study
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionEuropean Journal of Neurology. 2021, 1-10. https://doi.org/10.1111/ene.14877
Background: Acute stroke treatment in mobile stroke units (MSU) is feasible and reduces time-to-treatment, but the optimal staffing model is unknown. We wanted to explore if integrating thrombolysis of acute ischemic stroke (AIS) in an anesthesiologist-based emergency medical services (EMS) reduces time-to-treatment and is safe. Methods: A nonrandomized, prospective, controlled intervention study. Inclusion criteria: age ≥18 years, nonpregnant, stroke symptoms with onset ≤4 h. The MSU staffing is inspired by the Norwegian Helicopter Emergency Medical Services crew with an anesthesiologist, a paramedic-nurse and a paramedic. Controls were included by conventional ambulances in the same catchment area. Primary outcome was onset-to-treatment time. Secondary outcomes were alarm-to-treatment time, thrombolytic rate and functional outcome. Safety outcomes were symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage and mortality. Results: We included 440 patients. MSU median (IQR) onset-to-treatment time was 101 (71–155) minutes versus 118 (90–176) minutes in controls, p = 0.007. MSU median (IQR) alarm-to-treatment time was 53 (44–65) minutes versus 74 (63–95) minutes in controls, p < 0.001. Golden hour treatment was achieved in 15.2% of the MSU patients versus 3.7% in the controls, p = 0.005. The thrombolytic rate was higher in the MSU (81% vs 59%, p = 0.001). MSU patients were more often discharged home (adjusted OR [95% CI]: 2.36 [1.11–5.03]). There were no other significant differences in outcomes. Conclusions: Integrating thrombolysis of AIS in the anesthesiologist-based EMS reduces time-to-treatment without negatively affecting outcomes. An MSU based on the EMS enables prehospital assessment of acute stroke in addition to other medical and traumatic emergencies and may facilitate future implementation.