Hospitals need equivalent of "Code Blue" for stroke patients, Canadian study shows

    NEW ORLEANS, LA, Feb. 20 /CNW Telbec/ - Patients who have a stroke while
in hospital are less likely to benefit from rapid access to acute stroke care
than those who come into the emergency room with the same condition, according
to a Canadian Stroke Network study presented today at the International Stroke
    In fact, in-hospital stroke patients wait twice as long to get a brain
scan (61 minutes vs. 30 minutes); they wait twice as long to get the
clot-busting drug tPA, which can reverse stroke damage (138 minutes vs.
75 minutes); and, even adjusting for the fact that in-hospital patients are
sicker, they have a higher mortality rate post-stroke (14.3% vs. 10.9%) than
patients who come into hospital through the ER.
    The study looked at data from the Registry of the Canadian Stroke Network
on 12,506 patients admitted to 12 designated stroke centres in Ontario and
Nova Scotia between July 2003 and March 2007 with an acute ischemic stroke. Of
those, 535 had in-hospital strokes.
    "You would think that if you were going to have a stroke, there'd be no
better place to be than in the hospital," says study leader Dr. Frank Silver
of the Canadian Stroke Network. "But what we've found is that it takes longer
to get you treated."
    "In the ER, there's a well-oiled machine to triage stroke and a CT
scanner nearby. But, on a hospital ward, personnel are less likely to expect a
stroke," Dr. Silver says. In-hospital stroke patients may be delayed while a
CT scan is ordered and an orderly is called to transport them to radiology for
assessment. In some hospitals, stroke patients are taken through the ER to
speed up care.
    "What this study shows is that unlike calling "Code Blue" for a patient
with a cardiac arrest there's no system on many hospital wards to call for
help when a patient has a stroke," Dr. Silver says. "We need to have an
education program on non-neurology floors so that hospital personnel know how
to recognize an acute stroke and who to call. In-hospital stroke is not that
    About 50,000 Canadians have a stroke every year - one person every
10 minutes. Stroke is a leading cause of adult disability and death.

    About the Canadian Stroke Network (

    The Canadian Stroke Network includes more than 100 of Canada's leading
scientists and clinicians from 24 universities who work collaboratively on
various aspects of stroke. The Network, which is headquartered at the
University of Ottawa, also includes partners from industry, the non-profit
sector, provincial and federal governments. The Canadian Stroke Network, one
of Canada's Networks of Centres of Excellence, is committed to reducing the
physical, social and economic impact of stroke on the lives of individual
Canadians and on society as a whole.

For further information:

For further information: Cathy Campbell, Canadian Stroke Network,
(613)558-6691 (cell)

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Canadian Stroke Network

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