Background Large vessel occlusion strokes cause most of the post-stroke disability and mortality. In this study, we aim to find out common words and phrases used in the emergency calls for paramedic-suspected thrombectomy candidates. Also, we wanted to find out how a question about conjugate eye deviation, an indicator of vast cortical ischemia, arises in the Finnish stroke dispatch protocol.
Method This was a retrospective study with descriptive analysis of emergency calls for patients with paramedic-suspected large vessel occlusion stroke. We listened to the emergency calls for 157 patients transported to a Finnish comprehensive stroke centre.
Results Speech disturbance was the most common symptom brought up in 125 (80%) calls, followed by tripping (n=63, 40%) and facial asymmetry (n=41, 26%). Suspicion of stroke was mentioned by 44 (28%) callers. Inability to speak any words was mentioned in 65 calls (52% of calls with speech disturbance). Otherwise, difficulty to speak was described, for example, as a lisp, mumble or slurred speech. Conjugate eye deviation was definitively heard in 12 emergency calls. Ten of these patients were diagnosed with large vessel occlusion.
Conclusion In the emergency calls for patients with paramedic-suspected large vessel occlusion, typical stroke symptoms were described. The severity of the stroke stood out by the patients’ inability to speak any words or remain standing. It is possible to further develop stroke dispatch protocols to recognise thrombectomy candidates already during an emergency call.
Conflict of interest None.
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