Background and Purpose - Telemedicine is increasingly utilized for intravenous tPA (tissue-type plasminogen activator) delivery. The comparative safety of leaving tPA-treated patients at a presenting (spoke) hospital (drip-and-stay) or transferring patients to a central treating (hub) hospital (drip-and-ship) is not established. We sought to compare outcomes between drip-and-ship and drip-and-stay patients treated with tPA via telemedicine. We hypothesized that there would be no differences in short-term outcomes of in-hospital mortality, length of stay, or discharge disposition or in 90-day outcomes between groups. Methods - We retrospectively identified patients treated with tPA at 17 spoke hospitals between September 2015 and December 2016. Demographic, clinical, and outcome data were obtained from a prospective telemedicine registry. We used negative binomial, multinomial, and logistic regression analyses to evaluate length of stay, discharge disposition, and inpatient mortality, respectively. We compared the proportion of patients with 90-day modified Rankin Scale score <2 by group. Results - Among 430 tPA-treated patients, 232 (53.9%) were transferred to the hub after treatment. The median arrival National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score was higher for drip-and-ship (10; interquartile range, 5-18) compared with drip-and-stay patients (6; interquartile range, 4-10; P<0.001). Unadjusted length of stay was longer in drip-and-stay patients (incidence rate ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.71-0.95). There were no significant differences in adjusted length of stay, hospital mortality, or discharge disposition. Among the 64% of patients with complete 90-day modified Rankin Scale score, the proportion with good outcomes (modified Rankin Scale score <2) did not differ between groups. Conclusions - We found no differences in measured outcomes between drip-and-ship and drip-and-stay patients treated in our network, although our study may be underpowered to detect small differences.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing