More Neurology Residents Comfortable Using tPA for Stroke

Residents' experience, comfort using tPA to treat acute ischemic stroke increased from 2000 to 2010

MONDAY, Aug. 8 (HealthDay News) -- The number of graduating U.S. neurology residents with experience, and who report feeling comfortable, treating acute ischemic stroke patients with tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) increased from 2000 to 2010, with more residents having exposure to stroke teams and formal training in the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale, according to a study published online Aug. 4 in Stroke.

Vera Fridman, M.D., from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and colleagues investigated whether graduating U.S. neurology residents' experience with tPA changed over the past decade (from 2000 to 2010). Responses to a 12-item survey with questions worded identically, and sent to 491 U.S. neurology residents in their final year of training, were compared for the year 2000 and 2010. A total of 286 residents responded. The questionnaires included items that examined the residents' experience and confidence with assessment of the acute stroke patient, and the use of tPA for treatment.

The investigators found that the percentage of residents who felt comfortable independently treating with tPA (73 versus 94 percent), who had observed administration of tPA (88 versus 99 percent), who had personally treated with tPA (80 versus 95 percent), and who had been involved in post-tPA care (89 versus 98 percent) increased significantly from 2000 to 2010. Residents with formal training in using the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (65 versus 92 percent) and who had dedicated stroke teams at their institution (84 versus 93 percent) substantially increased during the study period.

"Neurology residents' experience and comfort treating acute ischemic stroke with tPA increased significantly between 2000 and 2010, as did resident exposure to stroke teams and formal training in the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale," the author writes.

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