Pre-Hospital Fast Positive Cases Identified by DFB Ambulance Paramedics: Final Clinical Diagnosis.
Ischaemic stroke clinical outcomes are improved by earlier treatment with intravenous thrombolysis. An existing pathway at the Mater University Hospital for assessment of suspected acute stroke in the Emergency Department was updated, aiming to shorten door-to-needle time. This study examines the final clinical diagnosis of Dublin Fire Brigade Ambulance Paramedic identified Face-Arm-Speech-Test (FAST) positive patients presenting to the Emergency Department over a 7 month period. A retrospective analysis was carried out of 177 consecutive FAST positive patients presenting between March and November 2014. The final clinical diagnosis was acute stroke in 57.1% (n=101) of patients. Of these, 76 were ischaemic strokes of whom 56.5% (n=43) were thrombolysed. In the pre-hospital setting Ambulance Paramedics can identify, with reasonable accuracy, acute stroke using the FAST test. Over half of the ischaemic stroke patients presenting via this pathway can be treated with intravenous thrombolysis.