Delays in Door-to-Needle Times and Their Impact on Treatment Time and Outcomes in Get with the Guidelines-Stroke

Noreen Kamal, Shubin Sheng, Ying Xian, Roland Matsouaka, Michael D. Hill, Deepak L. Bhatt, Jeffrey L. Saver, Mathew J. Reeves, Gregg C. Fonarow, Lee H. Schwamm, Eric E. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose-Despite quality improvement programs such as the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Target Stroke initiative, a substantial portion of acute ischemic stroke patients are still treated with tissue-type plasminogen activator (alteplase) later than 60 minutes from arrival. This study aims to describe the documented reasons for delays and the associations between reasons for delays and patient outcomes. Methods-We analyzed the characteristics of 55 296 patients who received intravenous alteplase in 1422 hospitals participating in Get With The Guidelines-Stroke from October 2012 to April 2015, excluding transferred patients and inpatient strokes. We assessed eligibility, medical, and hospital reasons for delays in door-to-needle time. Results-There were 27 778 patients (50.2%) treated within 60 minutes, 10 086 patients (18.2%) treated >60 minutes without documented delays, and 17 432 patients (31.5%) treated >60 minutes with one or more documented reasons for delay. Delayed door-to-needle times were associated with delayed diagnosis (36 minutes longer than those without delay in diagnosis) and hypoglycemia or seizure (34 minutes longer than without those conditions). The presence of documented delays was associated with higher odds of in-hospital mortality (odds ratio, 1.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-1.3) and symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage (odds ratio, 1.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-1.3) and lower odds of independent ambulation at discharge (odds ratio, 0.92; 95% confidence interval, 0.9-1.0) after adjusting for patient and hospital characteristics. Conclusions-Hospital and eligibility delays such as delay diagnosis and inability to determine eligibility were associated with longer door-to-needle times. Improved stroke recognition and management of acute comorbidities may help to reduce door-to-needle times.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)946-954
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • diagnosis
  • hypertension
  • stroke
  • thrombolytic therapy
  • tissue-type plasminogen activator

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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