A Pediatric Institutional Acute Stroke Protocol Improves Timely Access to Stroke Treatment
Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology
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AIM: We aimed to evaluate whether an institutional acute stroke protocol (ASP) could accelerate the diagnosis and secondary treatment of pediatric stroke.
METHOD: We initiated an ASP in 2005. We compared 209 children (125 males, 84 females; median age 4.8y, interquartile range [IQR] 1.2-9.3y, range 0.09-17.7y) diagnosed with arterial ischemic stroke 'pre-protocol' (1992-2004) to 112 children (60 males, 52 females; median age 5.8y, IQR 1.0-11.4y, range 0.08-17.7y) diagnosed 'post-protocol' (2005-2012) for time-to-diagnosis, mode of diagnostic imaging, and time-to-treatment with antithrombotic medication (aspirin or anticoagulants).
RESULTS: Overall, the interval from symptom onset to diagnosis was similar post-protocol compared to pre-protocol (20.3 vs 22.7h; p=0.109), although mild strokes (Pediatric National Institute of Health Stroke Scale [PedNIHSS] 0-4), were diagnosed faster post-protocol (12.1 vs 36.3h; p=0.003). Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was the initial diagnostic modality more often post-protocol (25% vs 1.4%; p
INTERPRETATION: A pediatric ASP accelerated time-to-treatment, time-to-diagnosis in children with subtle strokes, and increased MRI as initial imaging, reducing the need for computed tomography. Implementing optimized ASPs can facilitate more timely access to diagnosis and management of children with acute stroke.