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Hemiparesis: The Emerging Role of the Emergency Physician in Stroke Management Edward Sloan, MD, MPH Associate Professor Department of Emergency Medicine University of Illinois College of Medicine-Chicago Chicago, IL. Objectives. Present clinical case history Review Emergency Department H&P

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Hemiparesis: The Emerging Role of the Emergency Physician in Stroke Management Edward Sloan, MD, MPHAssociate ProfessorDepartment of Emergency MedicineUniversity of Illinois College of Medicine-ChicagoChicago, IL

  • Present clinical case history
  • Review Emergency Department H&P
  • Examine tPA clinical data
  • Discuss tPA use in ischemic stroke
  • Review other therapies for ischemic stroke
  • Answer clinically relevant questions

A 70 year old female developed acute onset of left arm weakness that lasted approximately 15 minutes and then gradually resolved.  She chose to ignore the event and did well until three weeks later she developed complete paralysis of the left arm and pronounced weakness of the left leg; neither resolved and approximately 90 minutes into the event she called EMS.  Past medical history included hypertension and COPD.  Medications: metoprolol, hydrochlorthiazide, and atrovent.


On exam, BP 200/120, P 68, RR 18, T 98, and pulse oximetry showed 94% saturation.  The patient appeared alert though responses were slow.  The patient had bilateral carotid bruits, clear lungs, and a regular rate and rhythm. There was no facial asymmetry, upper extremity motor 5/5 on the right and 0/5 on the left; lower extremity motor 5/5 on the right and 3/5 on the left.  Sensory was intact to light touch and pinprick.  DTRs were 2/2 on the left and 0/2 on the right.  Planter reflex was downgoing on the right and upgoing on the left.

acute ischemic stroke questions
Acute Ischemic Stroke Questions
  • What are the epidemiology & etiology?
  • What are the key elements of the exam?
  • What is the NIH stroke scale?
  • What did the NINDS trial show?
  • How should tPA be used by the EM MD?
  • What about hemorrhagic conversion?
  • What about other therapies?
acute stroke epidemiology
Acute Stroke: Epidemiology
  • 700,000 Cases annually
  • 20% mortality within one year
  • $30 billion annual costs
  • Ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes
acute ischemic stroke etiology
Acute Ischemic Stroke:Etiology
  • Thrombotic, embolic, hypoperfusion
  • Majority are vessel thrombosis
  • Clot formation on diseased vessel
  • 20% are embolic, from heart, great vessels
  • Hypoperfusion with cardiogenic shock
acute ischemic stroke syndromes
Acute Ischemic Stroke: Syndromes
  • Anterior cerebral
  • Middle cerebral
  • Posterior cerebral
  • Vertebrobasilar
  • Basilar artery occlusion
  • Cerebellar
  • Lacunar
  • Arterial dissection
acute stroke historical elements
Acute Stroke: Historical Elements
  • When did symptoms begin? Onset?
  • Prior history of similar symptoms?
  • When was the patient last seen normal?
  • Risk factors?
  • Medical hx that would preclude tPA use?
acute stroke physical exam
Acute Stroke: Physical Exam
  • Vital signs, pulse ox, accucheck
  • HEENT: Pupils, papilledema, airway
  • Neck: Bruits, nuchal rigidity
  • Chest: Rales (CHF, aspiration)
  • Cardiac: Gallops, murmurs
acute stroke physical exam11
Acute Stroke: Physical Exam
  • Abd: Evidence of AAA
  • Ext: Evidence of CHF, DVT
  • Skin: Evidence of infectious etiology
  • Neuro: CN, motor, sensory, reflexes, cerebellar, visual, language, neglect, mental status
neurologic exam cranial nerves
Neurologic Exam: Cranial Nerves
  • CN: Anterior vs. brainstem?
    • Anterior: Contralateral CN deficits
    • Brainstem: Ipsilateral CN deficits
neurologic exam motor
Neurologic Exam: Motor
  • Motor: CN, upper & lower ext
    • CN: Eye motor (Bell’s)
    • Upper: Pronator drift
    • Lower: Leg lift
neurologic exam sensory
Neurologic Exam: Sensory
  • Sensory: Light touch, pinprick
  • Graphesthesia
neurologic exam reflexes
Neurologic Exam: Reflexes
  • Normal vs. pathologic
    • Normal: Corneal, gag, DTRs
    • Pathologic: Babinski, Chadduck
neurologic exam cerebellar
Neurologic Exam: Cerebellar
  • Truncal ataxia
  • Ataxic gait
  • Rhomberg
neurologic exam visual
Neurologic Exam: Visual
  • Visual field deficit
  • Homonomous hemianopsia
    • Neglect of one side
neurologic exam language
Neurologic Exam: Language
  • Dysarthria: Poor speech, motor dysfunction
  • Aphasia: Disturbed language processing
    • Expressive: can’t speak
    • Receptive: can’t process the spoken word
neurologic exam mental status
Neurologic Exam: Mental Status
  • Level of consciousness (AVPU)
    • Alert
    • Responds to verbal
    • Responds to painful
    • Unresponsive
neurologic exam nih stroke scale
Neurologic Exam: NIH Stroke Scale
  • 13 item scoring system, 7 minute exam
  • Integrates neurologic exam components
  • CN, motor, sensory, cerebellar, visual, language, LOC
  • Maximum score is 31, signifying severe stroke
  • Minimum score is 0, a normal exam
  • Scores greater than 15-20 are more severe
acute ischemic stroke ninds clinical trial of tpa
Acute Ischemic Stroke:NINDS Clinical Trial of tPA
  • Treatment within 180 minutes
  • 0.9 mg/kg of tPA
  • Two part study
  • Endpoint: favorable outcome at 3 months
  • Also examined mortality, hemorrhage
ninds clinical trial of tpa results
NINDS Clinical Trial of tPA: Results
  • Good outcome: 30% more patients
  • Odds of favorable outcome: 1.7 (1.2-2.6)
  • 10x greater hemorrhage risk: (6.4 vs. 0.6%)
  • Comparable 3 month mortality: (17 vs. 21%)
  • Conclusion: tPA worth the hemorrhage risk, since there is clear benefit
ninds clinical trial of tpa clinical upshot
NINDS Clinical Trial of tPA:Clinical Upshot
  • tPA must be considered
  • Patient selection is very difficult
  • Must maximize risk/benefit ratio
  • Must avoid hemorrhage, if possible
  • Need adequate severity, but not too severe
  • Less than 2% of patients will meet criteria
ninds clinical trial of tpa timing issues
NINDS Clinical Trial of tPA:Timing Issues
  • Early EMS contact is key
  • Door to CT and CT read time important
  • Is there time for a neurologist to consult?
  • A stroke team helps
  • The 3 hour window is not the only issue
ninds clinical trial of tpa clinically relevant issues
NINDS Clinical Trial of tPA:Clinically Relevant Issues
  • Histories are unreliable
  • Timing issues hard to press for stroke
  • Patient selection is painfully difficult
  • Every CT has a hypodense area
  • Tendency not to intervene
  • First do no harm
  • What we did vs. what was destined to be
tpa in acute ischemic stroke clinical documentation issues
tPA in Acute Ischemic Stroke:Clinical & Documentation Issues
  • Document that tPA was considered
  • If not used, state explicitly why the pt did not meet criteria or why it was deferred
  • When explaining, tell the four key points:
    • 30% greater chance of good outcome
    • 10 fold greater risk of bleeding
    • Same mortality rate, despite bleeding risk
    • Explain why mortality is comparable
tpa in acute ischemic stroke other relevant studies
tPA in Acute Ischemic Stroke:Other Relevant Studies
  • ECASS: No efficacy, higher mortality
  • IA tPA: Effective, feasible
  • ATLANTIS: 5 hour window not possible
  • Cleveland: Non-supportive tPA data
    • 2% treated, 50% standard of care deviation
    • 16% bled, 3x higher in-hospital mortality
  • STARS: Favorable outcome and mortality
acute ischemic stroke goals of other therapies
Acute Ischemic Stroke: Goals of Other Therapies
  • Recanalization
  • Stop ischemic cascade
  • Minimize hemorrhage
  • Minimize morbidity and mortality
acute ischemic stroke other therapies
Acute Ischemic Stroke:Other Therapies
  • LMW heparin: Possibly effective
  • IST study: ASA reduces death & stroke recurrence by 1%
  • PROACT II: IA prourokinase improves outcome
  • STAT: Ancrod (pit viper venom) improves outcome, but causes hemorrhage
  • Neuroprotectants: May provide benefit
acute ischemic stroke other issues
Acute Ischemic Stroke:Other Issues
  • MR Imaging: Feasible, assists pt selection
  • Admission need: Still must admit TIA/CVA pts
    • No reason not to admit CVAs
    • Can’t predict progression, complications
    • Data less clear for TIAs…home observation?
    • Need HMO experience to be documented
acute ischemic stroke case management
Acute Ischemic Stroke:Case Management
  • Get the CT scan ASAP
  • Control the blood pressure
  • Start making calls: PMD, family, neurologist
  • Find out the CT results
  • Decide risk/benefit
  • Discuss with pertinent decision makers
acute ischemic stroke specific case outcome
Acute Ischemic Stroke:Specific Case Outcome
  • CT obtained quickly
  • BP controlled with time & SL NTG
  • NIH stroke scale: 15
  • CT showed ?? Low density area
  • Neurologist not inclined to treat
  • Family defers tPA after consultation
  • Some long term deficit, physical therapy
acute ischemic stroke conclusions
Acute Ischemic Stroke: Conclusions
  • Ischemic stroke is a big problem
  • There is significant morbidity & mortality
  • tPA is effective in a narrowly defined group
  • Must aggressively work to get tPA used
  • Other therapies hold promise
acute ischemic stroke recommendations
Acute Ischemic Stroke: Recommendations
  • Better public education
  • More timely EMS activation
  • More analysis of tPA use re: optimal patients
  • Rapid MR imaging
  • Dvlp other therapies, esp neuroprotectants
all are true statement about acute ischemic stroke except
All are true statement about acute ischemic stroke except:

a. There are three major categories: thrombotic, embolic, and hypoperfusion.

b. The majority of all strokes are caused by vessel thrombosis.

c. The symptoms of ischemic stroke develop over minutes to hours.

d. The most common source of emboli are the heart and major vessels.

e. Middle cerebral artery infarction is associated with ipsilateral weakness and numbness.