Hyperacute stroke thrombolysis via telemedicine: a multicentre study of performance, safety and clinical efficacy.


OBJECTIVES: Timely thrombolysis of ischaemic stroke improves functional recovery, yet its delivery nationally is challenging due to shortages in the stroke specialist workforce and large geographical areas. One solution is remote stroke specialist input to regional centres via telemedicine. This study evaluates the usage and key metrics of performance of the East of England Stroke Telemedicine Partnership-the largest telestroke service in the UK-in providing hyperacute stroke care. DESIGN: Prospective observational study. SETTING: The East of England Stroke Telemedicine Partnership provides a horizontal 'hubless' model of out-of-hours hyperacute stroke care to a population of 6.2 million across a 7500 square mile semirural region. PARTICIPANTS: All (2709) telestroke consultations between 1 January 2014 and 31 December 2019. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Thrombolysis decision, pre-thrombolysis and post-thrombolysis stroke severity (National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, NIHSS), haemorrhagic complications, and hyperacute pathway timings. RESULTS: Over the period, 1149 (42.4%) individuals were thrombolysed. Thrombolysis rates increased from 147/379 (38.8%) in 2014 to 225/490 (45.9%) in 2019. Median (IQR) pre-thrombolysis NIHSS was 10 (6-17), reducing to 6 (2-14) 24-hour post-thrombolysis (p