Protocol Deviations before and after Treatment with Intravenous Tissue Plasminogen Activator in Community Hospitals

Eric E. Adelman*, Phillip A. Scott, Lesli E. Skolarus, Allison K. Fox, Shirley M. Frederiksen, William J. Meurer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Background Protocol deviations before and after tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) treatment for ischemic stroke are common. It is unclear if patient or hospital factors predict protocol deviations. We examined predictors of protocol deviations and the effects of protocol violations on symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (sICH). Methods We used data from the Increasing Stroke Treatment through Interventional Behavior Change Tactics trial, a cluster-randomized, controlled trial evaluating the efficacy of a barrier assessment and educational intervention to increase appropriate tPA use in 24 Michigan community hospitals, to review tPA treatments between 2007 and 2010. Protocol violations were defined as deviations from the standard tPA protocol, both before and after treatment. Multilevel logistic regression models were fitted to determine if patient and hospital variables were associated with pretreatment or post-treatment protocol deviations. Results During the study, 557 patients (mean age 70, 52% male, median National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score 12) were treated with tPA. Protocol deviations occurred in 233 (42%) patients: 16% had pretreatment deviations, 35% had post-treatment deviations, and 9% had both. The most common protocol deviations included elevated post-treatment blood pressure, antithrombotic agent use within 24 hours of treatment, and elevated pretreatment blood pressure. Protocol deviations were not associated with sICH, stroke severity, or hospital factors. Older age was associated with pretreatment protocol deviations (adjusted odds ratio [OR],.52; 95% confidence interval [CI],.30-.92). Pretreatment deviations were associated with post-treatment deviations (adjusted OR, 3.20; 95% CI, 1.91-5.35). Conclusions Protocol deviations were not associated with sICH. Aside from age, patient and hospital factors were not associated with protocol deviations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-73
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Stroke
  • emergency department
  • tPA
  • thrombolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Rehabilitation
  • Surgery


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