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The American Stroke Association released improved recommendations for stroke systems of care to improve patient outcomes. It aims to extensively review of the current evidence evaluating these systems, and provide updates for policymakers and public healthcare agencies.

The policy’s key highlights include:

  • New recommendations support policies that standardize the delivery of stroke care, lower barriers to emergency care for stroke, ensure stroke patients receive care at appropriate hospitals in a timely manner and improve access to secondary prevention and rehabilitation and recovery resources after stroke.
  • The policy statement recommends that Emergency Medical Services (EMS) should consider additional travel time of up to 15 minutes to reach a hospital capable of administering intravenous alteplase and/or performing endovascular thrombectomy for patients suspected of having a severe stroke.
  • The statement also addresses disparities in care among racial and ethnic minorities, who are less likely to use EMS and have the lowest awareness of the causes and symptoms of stroke.

The new policy statement is published in the American Heart Association journal, Stroke. Improvements cover primordial and primary prevention, acute stroke recognition and activation of emergency medical services, triage to appropriate facilities, designation of and treatment at stroke centers, secondary prevention at hospital discharge, and rehabilitation and recovery.

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