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A National Evaluation of Door-to-Imaging Times among Acute Ischemic Stroke Patients within the Veterans Health Administration.

Sauser K, Bravata DM, Hayward RA, Levine DA. A National Evaluation of Door-to-Imaging Times among Acute Ischemic Stroke Patients within the Veterans Health Administration. Journal of stroke and cerebrovascular diseases : the official journal of National Stroke Association. 2015 Jun 1; 24(6):1329-32.

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BACKGROUND: Rapid brain imaging for ischemic stroke is important for patient outcomes. We sought to determine the proportion of ischemic stroke patients receiving brain imaging within the guideline-recommended 24 hours, and predictors of faster imaging among patients with acute symptoms. METHODS: Retrospective analysis of Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Office of Performance Measurement Stroke Special Project data. Of 3000 ischemic stroke patients, secondary samples included 649 presenting within 6 hours of onset, and 217 potentially tissue plasminogen activator (tPA)-eligible patients (onset-to-arrival time < 3 hours, National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale > 2). Two linear regression models examined the association between door-to-imaging time and predictors among secondary samples, accounting for clustering within hospital. RESULTS: Of the 3000 ischemic stroke patients, 97.1% had brain imaging within 24 hours. Among patients presenting within 6 hours of onset, median door-to-imaging time was 59 minutes (interquartile range [IQR], 33-109). Predictors of faster door-to-imaging time included elevated arrival blood pressure and stroke center presentation. Among the potentially tPA-eligible patients, median door-to-imaging time was 52 minutes (IQR, 31-105); no significant predictors were identified. CONCLUSIONS: Nearly all ischemic stroke patients at VHA hospitals have door-to-imaging time within 24 hours. There remains room for improvement for timely brain imaging among patients with acute symptom onset.

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