Prehospital assessment of stroke: time is brain

Prehospital identification is a vital initial step in the emergency medical management of stroke. There are several symptom-based screening tests which facilitate the identification of patients following a systematic clinical assessment. Screening also identifies conditions that mimic stroke and may require their own specific treatment. Between stroke recognition and arrival at hospital, there are important observations and treatment responses which will improve the outcome for patients. Rapid symptom identification and transportation to an appropriate unit will increase the probability that patients with ischaemic stroke can receive thrombolysis. The importance of prehospital stroke assessment is likely to increase with the development of future technologies.

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