Setting Up a Stroke Team Algorithm and Conducting Simulation-based Training in the Emergency Department - A Practical Guide.

Research paper by Damla D Tahtali, Ferdinand F Bohmann, Peter P Rostek, Marlies M Wagner, Helmuth H Steinmetz, Waltraud W Pfeilschifter

Indexed on: 25 Jan '17Published on: 25 Jan '17Published in: Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE


Time is of the essence when caring for an acute stroke patient. The ultimate goal is to restore blood flow to the ischemic brain. This can be achieved by either thrombolysis with recombinant tissue-plasminogen activator (rt-PA), the standard therapy for stroke patients who present within the first hours of symptom onset without contraindications, or by an endovascular approach, if a proximal brain vessel occlusion is detected. As the efficacy of both therapies declines over time, every minute saved along the way will improve the patient's outcome. This critical situation requires thorough work and precise communication with the patient, the family and colleagues from different professions to acquire all relevant information and reach the right decision while carefully monitoring the patient. This is a high fidelity situation. In nonmedical high-fidelity environments such as aviation, Crew Resource Management (CRM) is used to enhance safety and team efficiency. This guide shows how a Stroke Team algorithm, which is transferable to other hospital settings, was established and how regular simulation-based trainings were performed. It requires determination and endurance to maintain these time-consuming simulation trainings on a regular basis over the course of time. However, the resulting improvement of team spirit and excellent door-to-needle times will benefit both the patients and the work environment in any hospital. A dedicated Stroke Team of 7 persons who are notified 24/7 by a collective call via speed dial and run a binding algorithm that takes approximately 20 min, was established. To train everybody involved in this algorithm, a simulation-based team training for all new Stroke Team members was conceived and conducted at monthly intervals. This led to a relevant and sustained reduction of the mean door-to-needle time to 25 min, and enhanced the feeling of stroke readiness especially in junior doctors and nurses.