Neurology

Prehospital selection of thrombectomy candidates beyond large vessel occlusion: M-DIRECT scale




Objective

Current prehospital scales used to detect large vessel occlusion reveal very low endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) rates among selected patients. We developed a novel prehospital scale, the Madrid-Direct Referral to Endovascular Center (M-DIRECT), to identify EVT candidates for direct transfer to EVT-capable centers (EVT-Cs). The scale evaluated clinical examination, systolic blood pressure, and age. Since March 2017, patients closer to a stroke unit without EVT capabilities and an M-DIRECT positive score have been transferred to the nearest EVT-C. To test the performance of the scale-based routing protocol, we compared its outcomes with those of a simultaneous cohort of patients directly transferred to an EVT-C.

Methods

In this prospective observational study of consecutive patients with stroke code seen by emergency medical services, we compared diagnoses, treatments, and outcomes of patients who were closer to an EVT-C (mothership cohort) with those transferred according to the M-DIRECT score (M-DIRECT cohort).

Results

The M-DIRECT cohort included 327 patients and the mothership cohort 214 patients. In the M-DIRECT cohort, 227 patients were negative and 100 were positive. Twenty-four (10.6%) patients required secondary transfer, leaving 124 (38%) patients from the M-DIRECT cohort admitted to an EVT-C. EVT rates were similar for patients with ischemic stroke in both cohorts (30.9% vs 31.5%). The M-DIRECT scale had 79% sensitivity, 82% specificity, and 53% positive predictive value for EVT. Recanalization and independence rates at 3 months did not differ between the cohorts.

Conclusions

The M-DIRECT scale was highly accurate for EVT, with treatment rates and outcomes similar to those of a mothership paradigm, thereby avoiding EVT-C overload with a low rate of secondary transfers.

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