Objective: The objective of this study was to demonstrate the feasibility of timely multimodal MRI screening before thrombolysis in acute stroke patients. Methods: Quality improvement processes were initiated in 2013 to reduce door-to-needle (DTN) time at the 2 hospitals where the NIH stroke team provides clinical care. Acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients who received IV tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) ≤4.5 hours from last known normal were identified. Demographic and clinical characteristics and timing metrics were analyzed comparing the time periods before, during, and after the quality improvement processes. Results: There were 157 patients treated with IV tPA for AIS during 2012-2013, of whom 135 (86%) were screened with MRI. DTN time was significantly reduced by 40% during this period from a median of 93 minutes in the first half of 2012 to 55 minutes in the last half of 2013 (p < 0.0001) with a significant 4-fold increase in the proportion of treated patients with DTN time ≤60 minutes from 13.0% to 61.5%, respectively (p < 0.00001). Improvement in DTN time was associated with reduced door-to-MRI time, and there were no differences in demographic or clinical characteristics (p 5 0.21-0.76). Conclusions: It is feasible and practical to consistently and rapidly deliver IV tPA to AIS patients within national benchmark times using MRI as the routine screening modality. The processes used in the SMART (Screening with MRI for Accurate and Rapid Stroke Treatment) Study to reduce DTN time have the potential to be widely applicable to other hospitals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology