Thursday, August 06, 2015

We're supposed to go F.A.S.T. - but are those preaching it do the same?

Second round in this week's theme: Taking stroke patients seriously.

We're all told to get possible stroke patients to medical help fast - there's even a program with the acronym F.A.S.T. We're all told brain = time.

But, according to a recent study, it seems that many hospitals overestimate their adherence to stroke guidelines:
Researchers surveyed staff in 141 hospitals across the United States who treated more than 48,000 stroke patients in 2009 and 2010, and compared their responses with patient data. The results revealed significant differences between staff perception and reality.
Only 29 percent of staff correctly estimated how long it took stroke patients at their hospital to receive tPA, according to the study published July 22 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Hospitals were ranked as high-, middle- or low-performing based on the percentage of cases where stroke patients received tPA within the recommended time. Eighty-five percent of low-performing hospitals and 42 percent of middle-performing hospitals overestimated their abilities to quickly administer tPA.
Nearly one in five low-performing hospitals believed the time it took them to administer treatment was better than the national average. The study also found that hospitals that overestimated their performance gave tPA less often than other hospitals.
So to review: We're told to go F.A.S.T. But that doesn't, apparently, apply to the place where it's most important. We're not getting full information on how well that is applied at the professional level. And we should.

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