Ambulance transport policies for stroke patients differ by state

While accident victims in the U.S. are uniformly taken directly to the most advanced trauma center nearby, the protocols for where to shuttle stroke patients vary widely by state, according to a recent article by Stateline.

A handful of states require paramedics to take patients straight to a thrombectomy-capable hospital if it’s possible to reach one within a specified amount of time, while others don’t have such protocols in place. According to the Society of NeuroInterventional Surgery, 65 percent of patients taken directly to a comprehensive stroke center survive without long-term disabilities, compared to 42 percent of those transported to the nearest hospital with a less-advanced stroke center.

But one CDC stroke expert told Stateline it isn’t feasible to send every patient to a comprehensive stroke center, so a more important message to stress to the public is to call 9-1-1 if someone is having a stroke. About half of stroke patients arrive at hospitals without ambulance transport, according to the article.

“We’re trying to get the word out that stroke care starts in the ambulance,” Sallyann Coleman King, MD, MSc, told Stateline. “What makes sense is creating a system of care where the community and patients know the signs and symptoms of stroke and to call 9-1-1. The EMS system is prepared to gather the needed information, assess the patient, and take them to the appropriate facility to best treat their stroke.”

Read the full story below: