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Thrombolytic therapy for acute ischaemic stroke: successful implementation in an Australian tertiary hospital

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Abstract Background:

The use of tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA) in ischaemic stroke outside of experienced stroke centres remains controversial. The aim of this study was to present the initial experience with t-PA in patients with ischaemic stroke at an institution with no prior experience in i.v. stroke thrombolysis and to compare results to published reports. Methods:

Prospective audit of 888 patients with consecutive stroke and transient ischaemic attack admitted to a 426-bed tertiary referral hospital from March 2003 to October 2005. Main outcome measures were treatment rate, exclusion criteria, protocol violations, intracerebral haemorrhage, disability (modified Rankin scale) and mortality at 3 months. Results:

Over the study period, 72 patients received t-PA (11% of ischaemic strokes). The main reason for exclusion was presentation beyond 3 h of onset (44%); if all eligible patients had arrived within 3 h, treatment rate was estimated at 32.5%. Protocol violations occurred in 15 (21%) patients. There were seven (10%) asymptomatic intracerebral haemorrhage and one (1%) non-fatal symptomatic intracerebral haemorrhage. At 3 months, 37% had achieved excellent recovery (modified Rankin scale 0–1) and seven (10%) had died. The delivery and outcomes associated with the use of t-PA were comparable to the results of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke trial and meta-analysis of open-labelled studies. Conclusion:

With appropriate infrastructure and protocols, previously inexperienced tertiary referral centres can replicate the experience and outcome measures reported by clinical trials of t-PA in patients with stroke.

Keywords: Australia; cerebrovascular accident; stroke; thrombolytic therapy; tissue plasminogen activator

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Eastern Melbourne Neurosciences, Box Hill Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Publication date: August 1, 2006


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