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Implementation of Telemedicine and Stroke Network in Thrombolytic Administration: Comparison Between Walk-in and Referred Patients.

Neurocrit Care. 2010 Apr 22. Dharmasaroja PA, Muengtaweepongsa S, Kommarkg U. Division of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Thammasat University, Klong 1, Klong Luang, Pathumthani, 12120, Thailand

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy and safety of implementation of telemedicine and the Thammasat Stroke Network model in treating acute ischemic stroke patients with intravenous thrombolysis.

METHODS: Telemedicine (telephone consultation and tele-radiology) has been used in acute ischemic stroke management since June, 2007. The Thammasat Stroke Network (TSN) was effectively organized in March, 2008. Thammasat Hospital served as a "hub" hospital, with 25 "spoke" hospitals in the TSN. The main outcome measures included favorable outcome of the patients treated with intravenous tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) at 3 months and symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage by comparison between walk-in patients and the patients who were referred by the TSN.

RESULTS: There were 14 patients (14 out of 170 acute ischemic stroke patients, 8%) and 110 patients (110 out of 406 patients, 27%) receiving tPA, before and after implementation of TSN, respectively. Walk-in patients (66 patients) had significant shorter onset-to-treatment duration as compared with referred patients (58 patients) (130 vs. 170 min, P < 0.0001). However, there was no significant difference in favorable outcome (48 vs. 42%, P = 0.538) and rate of symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (3 vs. 2%, P = 0.637).

CONCLUSION: Implementation of telemedicine and TSN markedly increased tPA administrations, without compromising favorable and safety outcomes.

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