• Bypassing nearest hospital for more distant neuroscience care in head-injured adults with suspected traumatic brain injury: findings of the head injury transportation straight to neurosurgery (HITS-NS) pilot cluster randomised trial

      Lecky, Fiona E.; Russell, Wanda; McClelland, Graham; Pennington, Elspeth; Fuller, Gordon W.; Goodacre, Steve; Han, Kyee; Curran, Andrew; Holliman, Damian; Chapman, Nathan; et al. (2017-10)
      Objective Reconfiguration of trauma services, with direct transport of patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) to specialist neuroscience centres (SNCs)— bypassing non-specialist acute hospitals (NSAHs), could improve outcomes. However, delays in stabilisation of airway, breathing and circulation (ABC) may worsen outcomes when compared with selective secondary transfer from nearest NSAH to SNC. We conducted a pilot cluster randomised controlled trial to determine the feasibility and plausibility of bypassing suspected patients with TBI —directly into SNCs—producing a measurable effect. Setting Two English Ambulance Services. Participants 74 clusters (ambulance stations) were randomised within pairs after matching for important characteristics. Clusters enrolled head-injured adults— injured nearest to an NSAH—with internationally accepted TBI risk factors and stable ABC. We excluded participants attended by Helicopter Emergency Medical Services or who were injured more than 1 hour by road from nearest SNC. Interventions Intervention cluster participants were transported directly to an SNC bypassing nearest NSAH; control cluster participants were transported to nearest NSAH with selective secondary transfer to SNC. Outcomes Trial recruitment rate (target n=700 per annum) and percentage with TBI on CT scan (target 80%) were the primary feasibility outcomes. 30-day mortality, 6-month Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale and quality of life were secondary outcomes. Results 56 ambulance station clusters recruited 293 patients in 12 months. The trial arms were similar in terms of age, conscious level and injury severity. Less than 25% of recruited patients had TBI on CT (n=70) with 7% (n=20) requiring neurosurgery. Complete case analysis showed similar 30-day mortality in the two trial arms (control=8.8 (2.7–14.0)% vs intervention=9.4(2.3–14.0)%). Conclusion Bypassing patients with suspected TBI to SNCs gives an overtriage (false positive) ratio of 13:1 for neurosurgical intervention and 4:1 for TBI. A measurable effect from a full trial of early neuroscience care following bypass is therefore unlikely https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/bmjopen/7/10/e016355.full.pdf This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2017-016355
    • Development and validation of a pragmatic prehospital tool to identify stroke mimic patients

      McClelland, Graham; Rodgers, Helen; Flynn, Darren; Price, Christopher (2018-04)
      Aim Stroke mimics (SM) are non-stroke conditions producing stroke-like symptoms. Prehospital stroke identification tools prioritise sensitivity over specificity.1 It is estimated that >25% of prehospital suspected stroke patients are SM.2 Failure to identify SM creates inefficient use of ambulances and specialist stroke services. We developed a pragmatic tool to identify SM amongst suspected prehospital stroke patients. Method The tool was developed using regression analysis of clinical variables documented in ambulance records of suspected stroke patients linked to primary hospital diagnoses (derivation dataset, n=1,650, 40% SM).3 It was refined using feedback from paramedics (n=3) and hospital clinicians (n=9), and analysis of an expanded prehospital derivation dataset (n=3,797, 41% SM (original 1650 patients included)). Results The STEAM tool combines six variables: 1 point for Systolic blood pressure <90 mmHg; 1 point for Temperature >38.5°C with Abstracts A2 BMJ Open 2018;8(Suppl 1):A1–A34 (NHS). Protected by copyright. on 14 August 2019 at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust http://bmjopen.bmj.com/ BMJ Open: first published as 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-EMS.6 on 16 April 2018. Downloaded from heart rate >90 bpm; 1 point for seizures or 2 points for seizures with known diagnosis of Epilepsy; 1 point for Age <40 years or 2 points for age <30 years; 1 point for headache with known diagnosis of Migraine; 1 point for FAST-ve. A score of 2 on STEAM predicted SM diagnosis in the derivation dataset with 5.5% sensitivity, 99.6% specificity and positive predictive value (PPV) of 91.4%. External validation (n=1,848, 33% SM) showed 5.5% sensitivity, 99.4% specificity and a PPV of 82.5%. Conclusion STEAM uses common clinical characteristics to identify SM patients with high certainty. The benefits of using STEAM to reduce SM admissions to stroke services need to be weighed up against delayed admissions for stroke patients wrongly identified as SM. https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/Suppl_1/A2.3 This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2018-EMS.6