Treating ischemic stroke patients with rt PA no more than 3 hours or 180 minutes after the stroke can increase the chance of recovery or improved condition. If, however, treatment is delayed, the potential outcome may be permanent disability or death. This descriptive study was conducted with the objective of assessing time elapsed before treatment in ischemic stroke patients and analyzing the factors influencing the amount of time elapsed before ischemic stroke patients receive hospital treatment. The sample group was composed of 300 ischemic stroke patients treated at Sanphasitthiprasong Hospital in the province of Ubonratchathani, Thailand. Data were collected from November 2014 to February 2015. The following three sets of instruments were employed: 1) Demographic Data Questionnaire; 2) Ischemic Stroke Evaluation Form and 3) Time to Treatment Evaluation Form. Data were analyzed by descriptive statistics and by finding the correlations by using Spearman's correlation coefficient.
According to the research findings, 229 of the 300 ischemic stroke patients (76.3%) had pre-hospital times of more than 180 minutes. The mean pre-hospital time from the occurrence of stroke to hospital arrival was equal to 1,117.7 minutes (SD=1,556.4). The amount of time elapsed from arrival in the emergency room at Sapphasitthiprasong Hospital until receipt of treatment (in-hospital time) was equal to 134.0 minutes (SD = 93.4). Therefore, the mean time from the initial presenting symptoms until treatment was equal to 1,218.7 minutes (SD = 1,602.0). Furthermore, the pre-hospital time, the distance from the site of the incident to the hospital and the in-hospital time from arrival until laboratory test results were received were found to be positively correlated with the pre-hospital time from the initial presenting symptoms until receipt of treatment (rs= .661, .185, .235, p<.01). The severity of symptoms evaluated with NIHSS scores was found to be negatively correlated with pre-hospital time (rs= -.129, p<.05).
In summary, most ischemic stroke patients within the boundaries of Ubonratchathani receive delayed treatment in which the pre-hospital time has the highest correlation with receipt of treatment and instructing patients, people at risk for ischemic stroke and their relatives. Moreover, the development of an emergency medical service provision system and a hospital referral system that minimizes procedures and time in transferring ischemic stroke patients is vital to helping ischemic stroke patients receive timely treatment.