AT AAN 2017

BOSTON (FRONTLINE MEDICAL NEWS) – Ultra-fast door-to-needle times of 10 minutes or less for intravenous acute ischemic stroke thrombolysis can be safely achieved in carefully selected cases, according to a review of cases at an Austrian teaching hospital.

Raffi Topakian, MD , and his colleagues at the Academic Teaching Hospital Wels-Grieskirchen in Wels, Austria, followed a multidisciplinary intervention to reinforce key components of the well-known Helsinki model of acute stroke care to improve the intravenous thrombolysis rate and the median door-to-needle time (DNT) at the teaching hospital and analyzed data from 361 patients who underwent intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) for stroke there between July 2014 and September 2016. The IVT rate increased from 19% to about 27% after intervention, and the DNT during the study period was 60 minutes or less in 316 patients (87.5%), 30 minutes or less in 181 patients (50.1%), and 10 minutes or less in 63 patients (17.5%).

“Over the study period, we reduced the DNT time from 49 minutes to 25 minutes. This was significant, and the door-to-needle times were astonishingly similar for the in-hours service and the out-of-hour service,” he said at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

Further, the rate of prenotifications from emergency medical services rose from about 30% to 63% during the study period.

Patients with ultra-fast DNT vs. those with slower DNT were older, had more chronic heart failure, had more severe stroke (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score of 10 vs. 5), had more anterior circulation stroke and cardioembolic stroke, and had clear onset of stroke. Independent predictors of ultra-fast DNT included prenotification by EMS, anterior circulation syndrome, chronic heart failure, and having a stroke neurologist on duty, Dr. Topakian said.

“Ultra short DNTs can be achieved safely. The key is that we are prenotified by the EMS, that we can get all the relevant history details during transport, that there is a dedicated multidisciplinary stroke team and EMS staff, and that we have a seemingly unequivocal clinical scenario,” he said. “Out-of-hours DNT matched in-hours DNT, but the caveat is we’re talking about highly selected candidates; safety must not be sacrificed for the sake of speed, in all of our patients.”

Dr. Topakian has received personal compensation for activities with Novartis and Shire-Baxalta as an advisory board member; from Novartis, Pfizer, AbbVie, and Bayer for conference support; and from Pfizer as a speaker.