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Some current experimental protocols for acute ischemic stroke require the initiation of treatment within hours of the onset of stroke symptoms. We prospectively evaluated 30 patients with acute ischemic stroke based on clinical and computed tomography findings. The time between the onset of stroke symptoms and arrival in the emergency room and subsequently on the stroke service was determined. Within 3, 6,12, and 24 h of the onset of stroke symptoms, 16 (53%), 19 (63%), 22 (73%), and 25 (83%) patients had arrived at the emergency room and 0 (0%), 4 (13%), 14 (47%), and 22 (73%) of them on the stroke service, respectively. From the onset of stroke symptoms, the mean arrival time to the emergency room was 24 h (range, 30 min to 144 h) and to the stroke service was 61 h (range, 4–150 h). The mean time between arrival in the emergency room and stroke service was 8.6 h (range, 0–47 h). Even though 53% and 63% of our patients arrived at the emergency room within 3 and 6 h of the onset of stroke symptoms, only 0% and 13% of them arrived on the stroke service within the same time period for the initiation of treatment, respectively. Thus, in order for more patients to qualify for current experimental protocols, they must arrive on the stroke service more quickly or treatment must be initiated in the emergency room.
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