April 03, 2017
1 min read

AHA/ASA develop new algorithm for timely stroke treatment

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The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association announced they developed a new method for EMS to provide immediate emergency care for patients impaired by stroke.

The new process (Severity-Based Stroke Triage Algorithm) provides emergency crews with tools to quickly identify a stroke, triage a patient and determine which hospital will best provide care for the patient’s needs, according to a press release issued by the societies. With this algorithm, first responders use a regionally approved stroke severity tool that can diagnose an ischemic stroke, which often requires IV and endovascular thrombectomy treatments.

As different regions throughout the U.S. have different stroke treatment resources, physicians from different centers and first responders need to work together to find the hospital that has the treatment options the patient needs in a timely manner, the societies stated in the release.

“[Tissue plasminogen activators] require specific equipment and specially trained personnel that aren’t available in all hospitals, especially those in rural or suburban areas,” Peter D. Panagos, MD, associate professor of emergency medicine and neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and co-chair of the AHA/ASA Mission Lifeline: Stroke committee who helped develop the algorithm, said in the release. “With these available treatment options, the challenge is identifying severe strokes early, before arrival at the hospital, to get patients to the right facility to get the right therapy in the right amount of time.”

The plan will help allow EMS personnel to triage patients with large-vessel occlusion ischemic stroke, which often requires endovascular thrombectomy.

“Sometimes, this could mean bypassing a smaller, closer hospital to get the patient to a larger center providing specialized treatment,” Panagos said in the release. “Not only does it help get stroke patients to the optimal hospital, but the algorithm also requires that smaller centers and larger centers work together in a collaborative fashion to streamline the effective care of stroke patients. We like to consider most care is appropriate locally and reserve transport to larger centers only in the most extreme cases.”