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Dispatcher Stroke Recognition Using a Stroke Screening Tool: A Systematic Review

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Abstract

Background: Emergency dispatchers represent the first point of contact for patients activating an acute stroke response. Accurate dispatcher stroke recognition is associated with faster emergency medical services response time; however, stroke is often unrecognized during initial emergency calls. Stroke screening tools such as the Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale have been shown to improve on-scene stroke recognition and thus have been proposed as a means to improve dispatcher accuracy. We conducted a systematic review of the accuracy of emergency dispatcher stroke recognition when employing stroke screening tools. Methods: We conducted a comprehensive search of Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, and Cochrane databases to identify studies of dispatcher stroke recognition accuracy. Those that specifically reported dispatcher utilization of any validated stroke screening tools in isolation or in the context of a comprehensive screening algorithm such as the Medical Priority Dispatch System (MPDS) were potentially eligible. Studies that reported data sufficient for calculation of dispatcher sensitivity or positive predictive value (PPV) using a hospital-based stroke/transient ischemic attack diagnosis as the reference standard were included. Two independent reviewers determined study eligibility, assessed quality using the QUADAS 2 instrument, and abstracted data. Results: We identified 1,413 potential studies; 54 underwent full text review. Three retrospective and 4 prospective cohort studies enrolling a total of 16,382 patients met the inclusion criteria. Stroke screening tools included MPDS (n = 4), Face Arm Speech Time (n = 2), and a novel screening algorithm developed after analysis of emergency calls for stroke (n = 1). Regardless of the screening tool employed, dispatcher stroke recognition sensitivity was suboptimal (5 studies, range 41-83%) as was the PPV (7 studies, range 42-68%). Primary study limitations included application of variable reference standards and questions regarding exclusion of subjects. No studies directly compared stroke screening algorithms and no studies specifically examined stroke recognition among potential candidates for acute stroke therapies. Conclusion: Even when utilizing a stroke screening tool, the accuracy of stroke recognition by emergency dispatchers was suboptimal. More research is needed to identify the causes of poor dispatcher stroke recognition and should focus on potential candidates for time-dependent stroke treatment.

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Most cited references 18

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Emergency medical service hospital prenotification is associated with improved evaluation and treatment of acute ischemic stroke.

The benefits of intravenous tissue-plasminogen activator (tPA) in acute ischemic stroke are time-dependent. Emergency medical services (EMS) hospital prenotification of an incoming patient with potential stroke may provide a means of reducing evaluation and treatment times and improving treatment rates; yet, available data are limited. We examined 371 988 patients with acute ischemic stroke transported by EMS and enrolled in Get With The Guidelines-Stroke from April 1, 2003, to March 31, 2011. Prenotification occurred in 249 197 (67.0%) of EMS-transported patients. Among eligible patients arriving by 2 hours, patients with EMS prenotification were more likely to be treated with tPA within 3 hours (82.8% versus 79.2%, absolute difference +3.5%, P<0.0001, the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale-documented cohort; 73.0% versus 64.0%, absolute difference +9.0%, P<0.0001, overall cohort). Patients with EMS prenotification had shorter door-to-imaging times (26 minutes versus 31 minutes, P<0.0001), shorter door-to-needle times (78 minutes versus 80 minutes, P<0.0001), and shorter symptom onset-to-needle times (141 minutes versus 145 minutes, P<0.0001). In multivariable and modified Poisson regression analyses accounting for the clustering of patients within hospitals, use of EMS prenotification was independently associated with greater likelihood of door-to-imaging times ≤25 minutes, door-to-needle times for tPA ≤60 minutes, onset-to-needle times ≤120 minutes, and tPA use within 3 hours. EMS hospital prenotification is associated with improved evaluation, timelier stroke treatment, and more eligible patients treated with tPA. These results support the need for initiatives targeted at increasing EMS prenotification rates as a mechanism from improving quality of care and outcomes in stroke.
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Systematic review of mass media interventions designed to improve public recognition of stroke symptoms, emergency response and early treatment

Background Mass media interventions have been implemented to improve emergency response to stroke given the emergence of effective acute treatments, but their impact is unclear. Methods Systematic review of mass media interventions aimed at improving emergency response to stroke, with narrative synthesis and review of intervention development. Results Ten studies were included (six targeted the public, four both public and professionals) published between 1992 and 2010. Only three were controlled before and after studies, and only one had reported how the intervention was developed. Campaigns aimed only at the public reported significant increase in awareness of symptoms/signs, but little impact on awareness of need for emergency response. Of the two controlled before and after studies, one reported no impact on those over 65 years, the age group at increased risk of stroke and most likely to witness a stroke, and the other found a significant increase in awareness of two or more warning signs of stroke in the same group post-intervention. One campaign targeted at public and professionals did not reduce time to presentation at hospital to within two hours, but increased and sustained thrombolysis rates. This suggests the campaign had a primary impact on professionals and improved the way that services for stroke were organised. Conclusions Campaigns aimed at the public may raise awareness of symptoms/signs of stroke, but have limited impact on behaviour. Campaigns aimed at both public and professionals may have more impact on professionals than the public. New campaigns should follow the principles of good design and be robustly evaluated.
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Advance hospital notification by EMS in acute stroke is associated with shorter door-to-computed tomography time and increased likelihood of administration of tissue-plasminogen activator.

Rapid brain imaging is a critical step in facilitating the use of intravenous (IV) tissue-plasminogen activator (tPA) or catheter-based thrombolysis. We hypothesized that advance notification by emergency medical services (EMS) would shorten emergency department (ED) arrival-to-computed tomography (CT) time and increase the use of IV and intra-arterial thrombolysis, even at a tertiary care stroke center with high baseline rates of tPA use. We analyzed data on all acute stroke patients transported from March 2004 to June 2005 by EMS from the scene to our facility arriving

Author and article information

Affiliations
aDepartment of Emergency Medicine, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, Grand Rapids, Mich., bMichigan State University College of Human Medicine, and cDepartment of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, East Lansing, Mich., USA
Journal
CED
Cerebrovasc Dis
10.1159/issn.1015-9770
Cerebrovascular Diseases
Cerebrovasc Dis
S. Karger AG (Basel, Switzerland karger@123456karger.com http://www.karger.com )
1015-9770
1421-9786
November 2016
28 June 2016
: 42
: 5-6
: 370-377
© 2016 S. Karger AG, Basel

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Figures: 2, Tables: 3, References: 28, Pages: 8
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