Background and Purpose - The sensitivity of the brain to brief periods of profound ischemia or prolonged periods of modest ischemia mandates an aggressive approach to acute stroke care. Past studies have shown that many stroke patients do not receive acute care in an urgent and timely fashion. The formation of acute stroke teams (AST) is one approach that can be used to accelerate the delivery of acute stroke care. Methods - We conducted a survey of major stroke program directors and neurovascular experts throughout the United States. The survey focused on issues related to the presence of AST, their staffing, operational features, and utilization at the surveyed programs and hospitals. Results - Surveys were returned from 45 of 60 centers. Ninety-one percent of the respondents indicated that they currently had an AST, with 66% formed between 1995 and 1997. Staffing of ASTs consisted of attending physicians (95%), nurses or study coordinators (73%), fellows (49%), and residents (46%). In almost all cases (98%), the AST was led by a neurologist or neurosurgeon, and 98% of the ASTs operated on a 24-hours-per- day, 7-days-per-week basis. The most common call frequency was 2 to 3 times per week (41%), followed by >5 calls per week (29%). In 59% of the cases, the teams cost ≤$5000 per year to operate. The vast majority (78%) of ASTs responded within 10 minutes of receiving a call. Conclusions - The formation of ASTs is quite common at the surveyed programs. Although staffing patterns vary, most teams are led by neurologists or neurosurgeons. The utilization of ASTs varies by facility, but they appear to be useful, with only a modest incremental financial cost. The use of ASTs may assist in providing more rapid medical care to stroke patients and increase the use of some acute therapies. Extension of the AST concept to nonacademic hospitals appears feasible.
- Cerebrovascular disorders
- Stroke management
- Stroke, acute
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing