What should we do to overcome barriers in Stroke care and urgent prehospital care?

The organization of acute stroke treatment services at the regional/national level is key to guaranteeing reperfusion therapies reach the whole population.

A recent paper published in the European Stroke Journal (1), the scientific journal of the European Stroke Organization (ESO), describes the results of a recent survey performed in 44 European countries. The majority of the countries have stroke care plans and most of them take responsibility for the organisation/implementation of stroke systems of care (86%), quality of care assessment (77%), and act as a liaison between emergency medical systems and stroke physicians (79%). As for stroke systems of care, the focus is mainly on prehospital and in-hospital acute stroke care (the Code Stroke systems are available in the 84%). The survey also shows that the preferred urgent transport is via non-medicalised ambulances. The paper highlights that the presence of stroke care plans, the availability of stroke registries, the transport of urgent stroke patients via non-medicalised ambulances, and the drip-and-ship routing (the route where patients are firstly assisted at the reference stroke centre, and then sent to the comprehensive stroke centres) of acute patients showed higher reperfusion treatment rates.

However, stroke is not yet a priority everywhere in Europe, which is a barrier to the spread and delivery of high-quality stroke care.

This April, ICTUSnet members will discuss Acute Stroke Care Plans among the different South-western regions in the first ICTUSnet workshop, to be held in Palma de Mallorca. We believe that ICTUSnet project will overcome different barriers by creating a permanent network that promotes collaborative research, incorporates new technologies for data analysis, and fosters mutual learning across SUDOE regions.

  • Abilleira S et al. Planning of stroke care and urgent prehospital care across Europe: Results of the ESO/ESMINT/EAN/SAFE Survey. European Stroke Journal 0(0) 1–8. (Available Online). https://doi.org/10.1177/2396987319837106