Study Shows Telestroke Programs Can Mitigate Disparities in Acute Stroke Treatment Among Varying Races and Ethnicities
Previous analyses suggest ethnic and racial differences exist in acute stroke care, including thrombolytic treatment rates. The current study evaluates ethnic or racial differences in acute stroke treatment within a multistate telestroke program.
Our physicians extracted acute telestroke consultations in the Emergency Department from our TeleCare database, and cases were reviewed for race, ethnicity, age, sex, last known normal time, arrival time, treatment with thrombolytic therapy, door-to-needle (DTN) time, and baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score.
The study included 13,221 acute telestroke consultations consisting of 9,890 White, 2,048 Black, and 1,283 patients classified as Other. A total of 934 patients were Hispanic and 12,287 were non-Hispanic. The results of the study found there were no statistically significant differences noted in thrombolytic treatment rates when comparing White patients with non-White patients or comparing Black with non-Black patients. In addition, there were no statistically significant differences in treatment rates comparing Hispanic with non-Hispanic patients. No measurable differences in DTN times by race or ethnicity.
These findings support the hypothesis that telestroke may mitigate racial and ethnic disparities which may be attributable to local variability in stroke procedures or access to healthcare.