Promoting Evidence-Based Practice at a Primary Stroke Center

Promoting a culture of evidence-based practice within a health care facility is a priority for health care leaders and nursing professionals; however, tangible methods to promote translation of evidence to bedside practice are lacking | Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing


Objectives: The purpose of this quality improvement project was to design and implement a nursing education intervention demonstrating to the bedside nurse how current evidence-based guidelines are used when creating standardized stroke order sets at a primary stroke center, thereby increasing confidence in the use of standardized order sets at the point of care and supporting evidence-based culture within the health care facility.


Discussion: This nurse education strategy increased RNs’ confidence in ability to explain the path from evidence to bedside nursing care by demonstrating how evidence-based clinical practice guidelines provide current evidence used to create standardized order sets. Although further evaluation of the intervention’s effectiveness is needed, this educational intervention has the potential for generalization to different types of standardized order sets to increase nurse confidence in utilization of evidence-based practice.

Full reference: Case, C.A. (2017) Promoting Evidence-Based Practice at a Primary Stroke Center: A Nurse Education Strategy. Dimensions of Critical Care Nursing. 36(4) pp. 244–252

Thrombolytic removal of intraventricular haemorrhage in treatment of severe stroke: results of the randomised, multicentre, multiregion, placebo-controlled CLEAR III trial

The results of this multi-centre randomised controlled trial by Hanley et al was published in the Lancet in January 2017.

Background:  Intraventricular lancet-graphic is a subtype of intracerebral haemorrhage, with 50% mortality and serious disability for survivors. We aimed to test whether attempting to remove intraventricular haemorrhage with alteplase versus saline irrigation improved functional outcome.

Methods:  In this randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, multiregional trial (CLEAR III), participants with a routinely placed extraventricular drain, in the intensive care unit with stable, non-traumatic intracerebral haemorrhage volume less than 30 mL, intraventricular haemorrhage obstructing the 3rd or 4th ventricles, and no underlying pathology were adaptively randomly assigned (1:1), via a web-based system to receive up to 12 doses, 8 h apart of 1 mg of alteplase or 0·9% saline via the extraventricular drain. The treating physician, clinical research staff, and participants were masked to treatment assignment. CT scans were obtained every 24 h throughout dosing. The primary efficacy outcome was good functional outcome, defined as a modified Rankin Scale score (mRS) of 3 or less at 180 days per central adjudication by blinded evaluators. This study is registered with, NCT00784134.

Findings:  Between Sept 18, 2009, and Jan 13, 2015, 500 patients were randomised: 249 to the alteplase group and 251 to the saline group. 180-day follow-up data were available for analysis from 246 of 249 participants in the alteplase group and 245 of 251 participants in the placebo group. The primary efficacy outcome was similar in each group (good outcome in alteplase group 48% vs saline 45%; risk ratio [RR] 1·06 [95% CI 0·88–1·28; p=0·554]). A difference of 3·5% (RR 1·08 [95% CI 0·90–1·29], p=0·420) was found after adjustment for intraventricular haemorrhage size and thalamic intracerebral haemorrhage. At 180 days, the treatment group had lower case fatality (46 [18%] vs saline 73 [29%], hazard ratio 0·60 [95% CI 0·41–0·86], p=0·006), but a greater proportion with mRS 5 (42 [17%] vs 21 [9%]; RR 1·99 [95% CI 1·22–3·26], p=0·007). Ventriculitis (17 [7%] alteplase vs 31 [12%] saline; RR 0·55 [95% CI 0·31–0·97], p=0·048) and serious adverse events (114 [46%] alteplase vs 151 [60%] saline; RR 0·76 [95% CI 0·64–0·90], p=0·002) were less frequent with alteplase treatment. Symptomatic bleeding (six [2%] in the alteplase group vs five [2%] in the saline group; RR 1·21 [95% CI 0·37–3·91], p=0·771) was similar.

Interpretation:  In patients with intraventricular haemorrhage and a routine extraventricular drain, irrigation with alteplase did not substantially improve functional outcomes at the mRS 3 cutoff compared with irrigation with saline. Protocol-based use of alteplase with extraventricular drain seems safe. Future investigation is needed to determine whether a greater frequency of complete intraventricular haemorrhage removal via alteplase produces gains in functional status.

The full text of the article is available to subscribers to this journal via this link.  The Library and Knowledge Service can obtain the full text of the article for registered members by requesting one via the library website request form.

COOLIST (Cooling for Ischemic Stroke Trial): A Multicenter, Open, Randomized, Phase II, Clinical Trial

This article was published on the journal Stroke’s website in November 2017.  Subscribers to the journal may access the full text of the article via this link.

Background and Purpose—Animal studies suggest that cooling improves outcome after ischemic stroke. We assessed the feasibility and safety of surface cooling to different target temperatures in awake patients with acute ischemic stroke.

Methods—A multi centre, randomized, open, phase II, clinical trial, comparing standard treatment with surface cooling to 34.0°C, 34.5°C, or 35.0°C in awake patients with acute ischemic stroke and an National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score of ≥6, initiated within 4.5 hours after symptom onset and maintained for 24 hours. The primary outcome was feasibility, defined as the proportion of patients who had successfully completed the assigned treatment. Safety was a secondary outcome.

Results—Inclusion was terminated after 22 patients because of slow recruitment. Five patients were randomized to 34.0°C, 6 to 34.5°C, 5 to 35.0°C (cooling was initiated in 4), and 6 to standard care. No (0%), 1 (17%), and 3 (75%) patients, respectively, completed the assigned treatment (P=0.03). No (0%), 2 (33%), and 4 (100%) patients reached the target temperature (P=0.01). Pneumonia occurred in 8 cooled patients but not in controls (absolute risk increase, 53%; 95% confidence interval, 28–79%; P=0.002).

Conclusions—In awake patients with acute ischemic stroke, surface cooling is feasible to 35.0°C, but not to 34.5°C and 34.0°C. Cooling is associated with an increased risk of pneumonia.

The critical care management of spontaneous intracranial hemorrhage: a contemporary review

Manoel, A. et al. Critical Care. Published online: 18 September 2016

Spontaneous intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), defined as nontraumatic bleeding into the brain parenchyma, is the second most common subtype of stroke, with 5.3 million cases and over 3 million deaths reported worldwide in 2010. Case fatality is extremely high (reaching approximately 60 % at 1 year post event). Only 20 % of patients who survive are independent within 6 months.

Factors such as chronic hypertension, cerebral amyloid angiopathy, and anticoagulation are commonly associated with ICH. Chronic arterial hypertension represents the major risk factor for bleeding. The incidence of hypertension-related ICH is decreasing in some regions due to improvements in the treatment of chronic hypertension. Anticoagulant-related ICH (vitamin K antagonists and the newer oral anticoagulant drugs) represents an increasing cause of ICH, currently accounting for more than 15 % of all cases.

Although questions regarding the optimal medical and surgical management of ICH still remain, recent clinical trials examining hemostatic therapy, blood pressure control, and hematoma evacuation have advanced our understanding of ICH management. Timely and aggressive management in the acute phase may mitigate secondary brain injury. The initial management should include: initial medical stabilization; rapid, accurate neuroimaging to establish the diagnosis and elucidate an etiology; standardized neurologic assessment to determine baseline severity; prevention of hematoma expansion (blood pressure management and reversal of coagulopathy); consideration of early surgical intervention; and prevention of secondary brain injury. This review aims to provide a clinical approach for the practicing clinician.

Read the abstract here

Low Dose versus Standard Dose Intravenous Alteplase in Acute Ischemic Stroke


Thrombolytic therapy for acute ischemic stroke with a lower than standard dose of intravenous alteplase may improve recovery.  It may also reduce the risk of intracerebral haemorrhage.  This randomised control trial compared low dose intravenous alteplaste (0.6 mg per kilogram of body weight) or the standard dose (0.9mg per kilogram).  Outcomes measured considered included the modified Rankin scale score to measure the degree of disability as well as mortality and intracerebral haemorrhage.  The trial did not show the noninferiority of low dose alteplaste to standard dose alteplaste with respect to death and disability at ninety days.  There were significantly fewer sympotomatic intracerebral hemorrhages with the low dose.

This study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine 16th June 2016, volume 374 number 24 pages 2313-23.  It is available in the healthcare library on Level D of the hospital.  You can view a full abstract or if you have a personal subscription the full text via this link.