No Weekend or After-Hours Effect in Acute Ischemic Stroke Patients Treated by Telemedicine


      Background: Stroke outcomes have been shown to be worse for patients presenting overnight and on weekends (after-hours) to stroke centers compared with those presenting during business hours (on-hours). Telemedicine (TM) helps provide evaluation and safe management of stroke patients. We compared time metrics and outcomes of stroke patients who were assessed and received intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (IV-tPA) via TM during after-hours with those during on-hours. Methods: Analysis of our TM registry from September 2015 to December 2016, identified 424 stroke patients who were assessed via TM and received IV-tPA. We compared baseline characteristics, clinical variables, time metrics, and outcomes between the after-hours (5 pm-7:59 am, weekends) and on-hours (weekdays 8 am-4:59 pm) patients. Results: Of the 424 patients, 268 were managed via TM during after-hours, and 156 during on-hours. Baseline characteristics and clinical variables were similar between the groups. Importantly, there were no differences in all relevant time metrics including door to IV-tPA bolus time. IV-tPA complications (including all intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), any systemic bleeding, and angioedema), discharge disposition, and 90-day modified Rankin Scale were also similar in the groups. Conclusions: There was no difference in IV-tPA treatment times, acute stroke evaluation times, or mortality between the patients treated after-hours versus on-hours. Unlike in-person neurology coverage at many centers, the coverage provided by TM does not differ depending on the hour or day. Access to stroke specialists 24/7 via TM can ensure dependable and timely clinical care for acute stroke patients regardless of the time of day or day of the week.

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