Wednesday, May 01, 2013 Study: Many Stroke Patients Don’t Use EMS to Get to Hospital Although emergency medical services (EMS) use can increase stroke evaluation and treatment, more than a third, or 36.3%, of stroke patients fail to use EMS to get to the hospital, say authors of a study published electronically ahead of print in April by the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. For this study, the authors analyzed data from 204,591 hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke patients. Those patients were admitted to 1,563 hospitals that use National Institute of Health Stroke Score and insurance status data and participate in the Get With the Guidelines-Stroke program. The authors concluded that while 63.7% of patients arrived to the hospital via EMS, older patients using Medicaid and Medicare insurance and severe stroke patients were more likely to use EMS services. Race and ethnic minorities and people living in rural areas were less likely to use EMS services. Use of EMS services is associated with earlier arrival, prompter evaluation, more rapid treatment, and greater eligibility for treatment with tissue-type plasminogen activator. Members can view APTA's issue brief (member login required) on stroke to learn more about a physical therapist’s role in stroke prevention and treatment.