Factors affecting prehospital delay in rural and urban patients with stroke: a prospective survey-based study in Southwest Germany

BMC Neurol. 2020 Dec 5;20(1):441. doi: 10.1186/s12883-020-01999-4.


BACKGROUND: Reducing prehospital delay plays an important role in increasing the thrombolysis rate in patients with stroke. Several studies have identified predictors for presentation ≤4.5 h, but few compared these predictors in urban and rural communities. We aimed to identify predictors of timely presentation to the hospital and identify possible differences between the urban and rural populations.

METHODS: From January to June 2017, we conducted a prospective survey of patients with stroke admitted to an urban comprehensive stroke centre (CSC) and a rural primary care centre (PCC). Predictors were identified using binary logistical regression. Predictors and patient characteristics were then compared between the CSC and PCC.

RESULTS: Overall, 459 patients were included in our study. We identified hesitation before seeking help, awareness of the existence of a time-window, type of admission and having talked about stroke symptoms with friends/relatives who had previously had a stroke as the strongest predictors for presentation to the emergency room ≤4.5 h. Patients admitted to the rural PCC were more hesitant to seek help and less likely to contact emergency services, even though patients had comparable knowledge pertaining to stroke care concepts.

CONCLUSIONS: Patients from rural areas were more likely to be hesitant to seek help and contacted the EMS less frequently, despite similar self-awareness of having a stroke. Educational campaigns should focus on addressing these disparities in rural populations. Affected patients should also be encouraged to talk about their symptoms and take part in educational campaigns.

PMID:33276739 | DOI:10.1186/s12883-020-01999-4