DOI: 10.1161/strokeaha.123.043846 ISSN: 0039-2499

Emergency Medical Services Compliance With Prehospital Stroke Quality Metrics Is Associated With Faster Stroke Evaluation and Treatment

J. Adam Oostema, Adrienne Nickles, Justin Allen, Ghada Ibrahim, Zhehui Luo, Mathew J. Reeves
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Neurology (clinical)


Emergency medical services (EMS) is an important link in the stroke chain of recovery. Various prehospital quality metrics have been proposed for prehospital stroke care, but their individual impact is uncertain. We sought to measure associations between EMS quality metrics and downstream stroke care.


This is a retrospective analysis of a cohort of EMS-transported stroke patients assembled through a linkage between Michigan’s EMS and stroke registries. We used multivariable regression to quantify the independent associations between EMS quality metric compliance (dispatch within 90 seconds of 911 call, prehospital stroke screen documentation [Prehospital stroke scale], glucose check, last known well time, maintenance of scene times ≤15 minutes, hospital prenotification, and intravenous line placement) and shorter door-to-CT times (door-to-CT ≤25), accounting for EMS recognition, age, sex, race, stroke subtype, severity, and duration of symptoms. We then developed a simple EMS quality score based on metrics associated with early CT and examined its associations with hospital stroke evaluation times, treatment, and patient outcomes.


Five thousand seven hundred seven EMS-transported stroke cases were linked to prehospital records from January 2018 through June 2019. In multivariable analysis, prehospital stroke scale documentation (adjusted odds ratio, 1.4 [1.2–1.6]), glucose check (1.3 [1.1–1.6]), on-scene time ≤15 minutes (1.6 [1.4–1.9]), hospital prenotification ([2.0 [1.4–2.9]), and intravenous line placement (1.8 [1.5–2.1]) were independently associated with a door-to-CT ≤25 minutes. A 5-point quality score (1 point for each element) was therefore developed. In multivariable analysis, a 1-point higher EMS quality score was associated with a shorter time from EMS contact to CT (−9.2 [−10.6 to −7.8] minutes; P <0.001) and thrombolysis (−4.3 [−6.4 to −2.2] minutes; P <0.001), and higher odds of discharge to home (adjusted odds ratio, 1.1 [1.0–1.2]; P =0.002).


Five EMS actions recommended by national guidelines were associated with rapid CT imaging. A simple quality score derived from these measures was also associated with faster stroke evaluation, greater odds of reperfusion treatment, and discharge to home.

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