Impact of ongoing centralization of acute stroke care from “drip and ship” into “direct-to-mothership” model in a Dutch urban area

M. C. (Christien) van der Linden*, Naomi van der Linden, Rianne C Lam, Peter Stap, Crispijn L. van den Brand, Tamara Vermeulen, Korné Jellema, Ido R. van den Wijngaard

*Corresponding author for this work

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When acute stroke care is organised using a “drip-and-ship” model, patients receive immediate treatment at the nearest primary stroke centre followed by transfer to a comprehensive stroke centre (CSC). When stroke care is further centralised into the “direct-to-mothership” model, patients with stroke symptoms are immediately brought to a CSC to further reduce treatment times and enhance stroke outcomes. We investigated the effects of the ongoing centralization in a Dutch urban setting on treatment times of patients with confirmed ischemic stroke in a 4-year period. Next, in a non-randomized controlled trial, we assessed treatment times of patients with suspected ischemic stroke, and treatment times of patients with neurologic disorders other than suspected ischemic stroke, before and after the intervention in the CSC and the decentralized hospitals, the intervention being the change from “drip and ship” into “direct-to-mothership”. Our findings provide support for the ongoing centralization of acute stroke care in urban areas. Treatment times for patients with ischemic stroke decreased significantly, potentially improving functional outcomes. Improvements in treatment times for patients with suspected ischemic stroke were achieved without negative side effects for self-referrals with stroke symptoms and patients with other neurological disorders.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1040-1046
Number of pages7
JournalHealth policy
Issue number8
Early online date11 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

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