Alteplase is an effective treatment for ischaemic stroke patients, and it is widely available at all primary stroke centres. The effectiveness of alteplase is highly time-dependent. Large tertiary centres have reported significant improvements in their door-to-needle (DTN) times. However, these same improvements have not been reported at community hospitals.
Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre (RDRHC) is a community hospital of 370 beds that serves approximately 150,000 people in their acute stroke catchment area. The RDRHC participated in a provincial DTN improvement initiative, and implemented a streamlined algorithm for the treatment of stroke patients. During this intervention period, they implemented the following changes: early alert of an incoming acute stroke patient to the neurologist and care team, meeting the patient immediately upon arrival, parallel work processes, keeping the patient on the Emergency Medical Service stretcher to the CT scanner, and administering alteplase in the imaging area. Door-to-needle data were collected from July 2007 to December 2017.
A total of 289 patients were treated from July 2007 to December 2017. In the pre-intervention period, 165 patients received alteplase and the median DTN time was 77 minutes [interquartile range (IQR): 60–103 minutes]; in the post-intervention period, 104 patients received alteplase and the median DTN time was 30 minutes (IQR: 22–42 minutes) (p < 0.001). The annual number of patients that received alteplase increased from 9 to 29 in the pre-intervention period to annual numbers of 41 to 63 patients in the post-intervention period.
Community hospitals staffed with community neurologists can achieve median DTN times of 30 minutes or less.