Endovascular Thrombectomy for Acute Ischemic Strokes: Current US Access Paradigms and Optimization Methodology

Amrou Sarraj, Sean Savitz, Deep Pujara, Haris Kamal, Kirsten Carroll, Faris Shaker, Sujan Reddy, Kaushik Parsha, Lauren E. Fournier, Erica M. Jones, Anjail Sharrief, Sheryl Martin-Schild, James Grotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose-Timely access to endovascular thrombectomy (EVT) centers is vital for best acute ischemic stroke outcomes. Methods-US stroke-treating centers were mapped utilizing geo-mapping and stratified into non-EVT or EVT if they reported ≥1 acute ischemic stroke thrombectomy code in 2017 to Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Direct EVT-access, defined as the population with the closest facility being an EVT-center, was calculated from validated trauma-models adapted for stroke. Current 15- A nd 30-minute access were described nationwide and at state-level with emphasis on 4 states (TX, NY, CA, IL). Two optimization models were utilized. Model-A used a greedy algorithm to capture the largest population with direct access when flipping 10% and 20% non-EVT to EVT-centers to maximize access. Model-B used bypassing methodology to directly transport patients to the nearest EVT centers if the drive-time difference from the geo-centroid to hospital was within 15 minutes from the geo-centroid to the closest non-EVT center. Results-Of 1941 stroke-centers, 713 (37%) were EVT. Approximately 61 million (19.8%) Americans have direct EVT access within 15 minutes while 95 million (30.9%) within 30 minutes. There were 65 (43%) EVT centers in TX with 22% of the population currently within 15-minute access. Flipping 10% hospitals with top population density improved access to 30.8%, while bypassing resulted in 45.5% having direct access to EVT centers. Similar results were found in NY (current, 20.9%; flipping, 34.7%; bypassing, 50.4%), CA (current, 25.5%; flipping, 37.3%; bypassing, 53.9%), and IL (current, 15.3%; flipping, 21.9%; bypassing, 34.6%). Nationwide, the current direct access within 15 minutes of 19.8% increased by 7.5% by flipping the top 10% non-EVT to EVT-capable in all states. Bypassing non-EVT centers by 15 minutes resulted in a 16.7% gain in coverage. Conclusions-EVT-access within 15 minutes is limited to less than one-fifth of the US population. Optimization methodologies that increase EVT centers or bypass non-EVT to the closest EVT center both showed enhanced access. Results varied by states based on the population size and density. However, bypass showed more potential for maximizing direct EVT-access. National and state efforts should focus on identifying gaps and tailoring solutions to improve EVT-access.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1207-1217
Number of pages11
StateAccepted/In press - 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • algorithm
  • medicaid
  • medicare
  • stroke
  • thrombectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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