Low rates of thrombolysis for ischemic stroke in India and other developing countries have been attributed to delays in presentation to the hospital.
Materials and Methods:
A prospective study was carried out during a 12-month period ending December 2012 in the department of Neurology, Malabar Institute of Medical Sciences, Kerala, India, to look for the factors contributing to delay in hospital arrival of patients with acute stroke. Patients and or their relatives were interviewed within 48 hours of admission using a structured questionnaire.
A total of 264 patients attending the emergency department were included. There were 170 men and 94 women. The mean age was 61.5 ± 12.4 years. A total of 67 (25%) patients presented within 4 hours of stroke onset. Factors associated with early arrival (multivariate logistic regression analysis) were distance 15 km or less from hospital (P 0.03, odds ratio (OR) 2.7), directly reaching the stroke department (P < 0.001, OR 9.7), history of coronary artery disease (P 0.001, OR 3.84), higher educational status (P 0.001, OR 3.7), and presence of hemiplegia (P 0.001, OR 5.5).
We found a considerable delay in the early arrival of patients to our stroke department. Health promotion strategies to improve community awareness of early symptoms of stroke, education of local physicians about the importance of early referrals to the stroke centers, and wider availability and use of ambulance services are promising methods to help expedite presentation to hospital post stroke and thereby improve the management of stroke in India.