ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To analyse the factors influencing the time of admission of patients presenting an acute ischaemic stroke (AIS) to the emergency department. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Between May 2006 and July 2007, all patients with suspected stroke admitted to the emergency department were included. Patients' characteristics and the nature and timing of the events following symptom detection were recorded in the emergency department. The symptoms observed, the person telephoning for help, the person or establishment contacted, the measures implemented (attendance of a physician, medical or paramedical intervention) and the means of transport to the hospital were noted. The overall population was analysed descriptively and patients admitted within 3hours of symptom onset (group I) were compared with those admitted after a longer interval (group II). The final diagnosis of AIS was confirmed on patient discharge. The results were expressed as the mean (±SD) or median (interquartile range), Mann-Whitney and Chi(2) tests being used to analyse differences between the two groups (threshold of statistical significance: P<0.05). RESULTS: Among the 678 patients admitted with suspected stroke, 536 were diagnosed as having experienced an AIS, 65 a haemorrhagic stroke, 3 a cerebral venous thrombosis and 74 an event other than an acute neurovascular event. The results therefore concern 536 patients (median age: 75 years), of whom 166 (31%, group I) were admitted within 3hours of symptom onset and 370 after a longer interval (group II). The median time between symptom onset and the call for help was 15min (1-26) in group I and 300min (60-960) in group II (P<0.0001). The median times to intervention of a physician (the patient's regular general practitioner, the physician on duty, or the SMUR [Mobile Emergency and Resuscitation Service] physician) ranged from 10 to 60min. Median transport times ranged from 30 to 120min depending on the type of transport employed. The two groups differed significantly with regard to intervention of a physician before admission to the emergency department (40% of patients in group I vs. 72% in group II, P<0.0001), initial call to the emergency medical call centre ("15" in France) (42% vs. 17%, P<0.001), presence of a relative or other person at the time of functional symptom onset (58% vs. 39%, P<0.01), and immediate transport to hospital without medical intervention (49 vs. 11%). Finally, irrespective of the time to hospital admission, 12% of the patients studied were eligible for intravenous thrombolysis. CONCLUSION: In the event of a suspected stroke, these results favour contacting the emergency medical call centre and immediate transfer of the patient to an appropriate hospital establishment without waiting for prior medical intervention.
La Presse Médicale 05/2012; · 0.67 Impact Factor