More than a third of stroke patients don’t get to the hospital by ambulance, even though that’s the fastest way to get there, according to new research in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, an American Heart Association journal.
Researchers studied records on more than 204,000 stroke patients arriving at emergency rooms at 1,563 hospitals participating in the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Get With The Guidelines®-Stroke quality improvement program in 2003-10.
Emergency medical services (EMS) transported 63.7 percent of the patients, with the rest arriving in various other ways, researchers said.
Minorities and rural residents were less likely to call for EMS at the signs of a stroke, researchers found.
“A number of factors can fuel the reluctance to call 9-1-1,” said James Ekundayo, M.D., Dr.P.H., lead author of the study and assistant professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn. “People may not recognize symptoms and may delay seeking medical care or call their doctor instead.
We hear people say they just didn’t want to be a bother, but many times there could have been a better outcome if EMS had been called.”
About 795,000 Americans experience a new or recurrent stroke each year — a stroke every 40 seconds or a related death every four minutes.
Boosting public awareness efforts and education is critical to improving stroke outcomes in the short- and long-term, researchers said.The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Together to End Stroke, sponsored nationally by healthcare products leader Covidien, raises stroke awareness and educates Americans that stroke is largely preventable, treatable and beatable. The campaign now includes a free mobile app that highlights the acronym F.A.S.T. to help people recognize a stroke:
The American Stroke Association has more information about stroke.Other co-authors are: Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D.; Lee H. Schwamm, M.D.; Ying Xian, M.D., Ph.D.; Xin Zhao, M.S.; Adrian F. Hernandez, M.D.; Eric D. Peterson, M.D.; and Eric M. Cheng, M.D. Author disclosures and funding are noted on the manuscript.
For media inquiries: (214) 706-1173
Cathy Lewis: (214) 706-1324; Cathy.Lewis@heart.org
Toiya Honoré: (214) 706-1456; Toiya.Honore@heart.org
Julie Del Barto (broadcast): (214) 706-1330; Julie.DelBarto@heart.org
For public inquiries: (800) AHA-USA1 (242-8721)
heart.org and strokeassociation.org
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