Telestroke: Variations in intravenous thrombolysis by spoke hospitals

Jeffrey A Switzer, Rajendra Singh, Lars Mathiassen, Jennifer L Waller, Robert J. Adams, David C Hess

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background: Telestroke extends stroke expertise to underserved hospitals and facilitates treatment with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). We investigated the variability in tPA treatment rates across 2 large telestroke networks - consisting of hubs at Georgia Regents Medical Center (GRMC) and Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and their affiliated spoke hospitals - to identify spoke-related factors predictive of greater tPA use. Methods: Observational study of tPA treatment rate at 32 spoke hospitals within the GRMC and MUSC telestroke networks. Spokes were characterized by primary stroke center status, local stroke nurse coordinator, local neurology support, hospital size, post-tPA management strategy, whether the spoke hospitals paid to participate in the network, and whether the hub or the spoke hospital initially proposed the telemedicine linkage for consultations with a remote stroke specialist. Primary outcome was tPA treatment rate adjusted for emergency department (ED) volume. Results: There was substantial variation in the adjusted tPA rate across spokes (range, .85-8.74 administrations/104 ED visits/ year). Only spokes with a stroke nurse coordinator (4.75/104 ED visits/year versus 2.84/104 ED visits/year, P =.03) were associated with higher tPA use. Conclusions: The application of telestroke has variable results on tPA delivery in spoke hospitals. However, the presence of a stroke nurse coordinator at the spoke facilitated treatment of ischemic stroke cases with tPA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-744
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015


  • Stroke
  • Telemedicine
  • Telestroke
  • Tissue plasminogen activator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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