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Primary Stroke Centers Have Slight Survival Edge

Study finds small advantage, but only if patient gets there within 90 minutes

TUESDAY, July 26, 2016 (HealthDay News) — The odds of surviving a stroke are slightly better for patients treated at hospitals with primary stroke centers (PSCs), but only if stroke patients get to the center in less than 90 minutes, according to research published online July 25 in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Kimon Bekelis, M.D., an instructor at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., and colleagues collected data on 865,184 Medicare patients, average age 79. All had a stroke between 2010 and 2013, and 53.9 percent of these patients were treated at a PSC.

The researchers found that patients who could get to a PSC within 90 minutes had a 1.8 percent higher chance of surviving a stroke after seven and 30 days, compared with patients treated at hospitals without such centers. Patients treated at a PSC were twice as likely to receive tissue plasminogen activator — 6.0 versus 2.8 percent — than patients treated at a standard hospital.

“Hospitalization of patients with stroke in PSCs was associated with decreased seven-day and 30-day case fatality compared with noncertified hospitals,” the authors write. “Traveling at least 90 minutes to receive care offset the 30-day survival benefit of PSC admission.”

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