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“Stroke Week” in Portugal Inspired a Record Door-to-Needle Time


By Paulo Ávila – Medical Specialist in Internal Medicine, Hospital de Santo Espírito da Ilha Terceira, Portugal

 Several participants of "Stroke Week" conducting a stroke code simulation.

In the final week of November 2017, the Code Stroke team from Hospital de Santo Espírito da Ilha Terceira, together with the Angels Initiative, organized a “Stroke Week” event in Terceira Island, Azores, Portugal.

The purpose of “Stroke Week” was to bring together everyone involved in the region’s stroke care chain, so they can educate, discuss, update, review and clarify with each other everything that is important for saving a stroke patient’s life.

This comprehensive session, which took place in Hospital de Santo Espírito da Ilha Terceira, was attended not only by general practitioners and medical doctors, but also by the Fire Departments of Angra do Heroísmo and of Praia da Vitoria.

Members of the Praia da Vitoria Fire Department who attended the "Stroke Week" in Terceira Island
Some of the big discussions included pre- and intra-hospital stroke care chain, the importance of pre-notification, as well as a lively dialogue on who needs to do what (and how) after the stroke code is activated, especially during the hyper-acute phase.

Round table discussions were held, analyzing and optimizing the code stroke pathway. To close the week, a simulation was performed and an action plan agreed.

The “Stroke Week” made quick, irrefutable impacts. Within days, there was an increase on the number of pre-notified stroke cases and a reduction on the door-to-needle time. We are proud to report that since the intervention we treated a patient in a record time of 10 minutes!

Although we are happy with the great improvement in the hyper-acute phase, there is still a great number of patients that arrive at the hospital outside of the therapeutic window – a stark reminder that public education and awareness cannot be forgotten.

The Angels partnership has already helped us to make great improvements, and together we hope we can reach more and more people to improve stroke care in Terceira island and the whole Azores region.

Happy faces after completing a simulation filled with new learnings.