World Rural Health Conference
Home Print this page Email this page Small font size Default font size Increase font size
Users Online: 1279
Home About us Editorial board Search Ahead of print Current issue Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 


 
 Table of Contents 
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 192-196  

Saudi neurology residents' knowledge and attitudes toward intravenous thrombolysis in patients with acute ischemic stroke


Medical Intern, College of Medicine, Jazan University, Jazan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Date of Submission21-Oct-2019
Date of Decision21-Nov-2019
Date of Acceptance11-Dec-2019
Date of Web Publication28-Jan-2020

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Fatimah Ali Alharbi
Jazan University, Jazan
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_924_19

Rights and Permissions
  Abstract 


Background: Although intravenous (IV) thrombolysis is an effective treatment for patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS), it remains underused by neurologists worldwide. This study assessed the knowledge and attitudes toward IV thrombolysis in patients with AIS among neurology residents in Saudi Arabia. Materials and Methods: An online survey was conducted using a sample of 81 neurology residents in and around Saudi Arabia. Statistical analysis included descriptive studies and Chi-square or Fisher's exact test. Results: Of the 81 respondents, 50 (61.7%) were males and 31 (38.3%) females. Regarding IV thrombolysis use in AIS patients; 61.7% thought that they would consider it, a vast majority about 72.8% showed positive attitudes toward performing IV thrombolysis for AIS patients, 69.1% thought that IV thrombolysis is safe, 79.0% did not think that they have good knowledge about IV thrombolysis, and 53.1% felt not confident about their ability to employ IV thrombolysis. Confidence with knowledge was associated with the residency stage (P = 0.000). Attitudes toward IV thrombolysis was found associated with sex (P = 0.044) and residency stage (P = 0.002). Residents from the central region were more likely to have positive attitudes (P = 0.043). Conclusion: The surveyed neurology residents showed a positive attitude towards the safety and use of IV thrombolysis for AIS patients. However, knowledge and confidence along with knowledge about the treatment are lacking. Therefore, theoretical and practical training is warranted to improve knowledge about IV thrombolysis.

Keywords: Acute ischemic stroke, IV thrombolysis, neurology residents, Saudi Arabia


How to cite this article:
Alharbi FA, Maghfuri NM, Abdu DM, Redine MY. Saudi neurology residents' knowledge and attitudes toward intravenous thrombolysis in patients with acute ischemic stroke. J Family Med Prim Care 2020;9:192-6

How to cite this URL:
Alharbi FA, Maghfuri NM, Abdu DM, Redine MY. Saudi neurology residents' knowledge and attitudes toward intravenous thrombolysis in patients with acute ischemic stroke. J Family Med Prim Care [serial online] 2020 [cited 2020 Feb 21];9:192-6. Available from: http://www.jfmpc.com/text.asp?2020/9/1/192/276810




  Introduction Top


Stroke, as a major public health problem and the leading cause of disability and death worldwide, imposes a heavy burden on both the healthcare and economic systems. The stroke-related morbidity and mortality rates are increasingly emerging every year, with the mortality rate being expected to double in the Middle East region by 2030.[1],[2],[3],[4] Despite the great advances in stroke diagnostic and therapeutic strategies and rehabilitation in the past decade, acute management and long-term care for stroke patients are still challenging. Intravenous (IV) thrombolysis with recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) is currently a level-1A therapy available for eligible patients with acute ischemic stroke (AIS).[5],[6],[7] Since 1996, when it was approved by the food and drug administration (FDA), it has been an effective treatment for increasing numbers of patients with AIS.[7],[8],[9] However, despite the mounting evidence on the role of IV thrombolysis in improving functional outcomes in AIS patients, the thrombolysis rate is still extremely low, ranging from 2% to 5.2%.[10],[11]

Several studies have examined the IV thrombolysis in different countries and identified the main factors associated with its underuse. These factors include delayed presentation, vague symptoms timing, and strict eligibility criteria.[12],[13],[14] Patients' delayed presentation has been found by some studies to be the most important factor associated with the improper use of IV thrombolysis.[15],[16] The reasons for the out-of-hospital barriers to IV thrombolysis, such as delayed presentation, include lack of public awareness of the signs and symptoms of stroke, and the short time window (i.e., 4.5 h) for stroke treatment.[17] Studies have also suggested that in-hospital barriers to proper IV thrombolysis are also important and should not be ignored. In one study from China, 37.9% of patients with AIS presented within 4 h of the onset of symptoms, had enough time to benefit from IV thrombolysis. Given an IV thrombolysis rate of 2% in China,[11] the authors concluded that more than 90% of those patients presenting within 4 h of symptoms onset might not be offered IV thrombolysis.[18] Therefore, in addition to the out-of-hospital barriers to the underuse of IV thrombolysis in patients with AIS, investigating the in-hospital barriers is warranted.[19] Neurology residents are core members of the stroke team as they are the first doctors who evaluate and manage acute stroke patients. In addition to their learning objectives during the residency period, they actively participate in all stages of care for neurology patients, as well as in the decision-making process.A neurology resident who has adequate knowledge about IV thrombolysis is expected to be more confident to recommend the treatment to eligible patients than those who have a relatively weak knowledge.[8],[11] Therefore, assessing the knowledge of neurology residents and their attitudes toward the use of IV thrombolysis is part of identifying possible in-hospital factors affecting the use of IV thrombolysis.

Only a few studies have addressed the knowledge about IV thrombolysis among neurologists,[8],[20],[21] with no published studies including neurology residents. A study conducted in 2018, using a study sample of Saudi neurologists from Riyadh and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, showed that only 9.9% were strictly adherent to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association guidelines for thrombolysis administration.[20] Another study on Chinese neurologists showed that 51.4% had deficient knowledge about IV thrombolysis and 45.8% lacked confidence in their ability to use the treatment.[8] Therefore, we conducted this nationwide study to assess the knowledge and attitudes toward IV thrombolysis in patients with AIS among neurology residents in Saudi Arabia.


  Materials and Methods Top


This observational cross-sectional study aimed at assessing the knowledge and attitudes toward IV thrombolysis in patients with AIS among neurology residents in Saudi Arabia. The study targeted all Saudi neurology residents who were currently registered with the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCHS). Excluded from the study were residents in their first year of training who were required to spend a 1-year training in internal medicine. Neurologists were not included.

We employed a structured and self-administered questionnaire, which was adapted from a previous study on comparable objectives.[8] An online link to the questionnaire was sent to the target population through social media, and responses were accepted during the period from March 2019 to May 2019. The questionnaire consisted of two main parts, the first pertaining to basic sociodemographic details and the second assessed the respondents' knowledge and attitudes toward IV thrombolysis using five yes-or-no questions. The questionnaire focused on the respondents' perspective on the use of IV thrombolysis, their confidence with knowledge about IV thrombolysis, its safety, and their attitudes toward it.

The study was conducted in agreement with the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki and all participants were informed of nature and the objectives of the study at the beginning of the survey. All responses were kept anonymous with the optimal measures of subjects' confidentiality.

Data analysis was performed using the Statistical Package of Social Sciences (SPSS) Version 21 (SPSS Inc., Chicago, IL). Categorical variables were presented as frequencies and percentages. Pearson's Chi-square test or Fisher's exact test were employed to compare quantitative variables. All tests were two-tailed and associations were considered statistically significant if P value was less than. 05 or less than 0.01.


  Results Top


Eighty-one registered residents completed the study questionnaire; 50 (61.7%) were males and 31 (38.3%) females. Except for the northern region of the KSA, the sample consisted of neurology residents from all provinces, namely, central (38.3%), eastern (32.1%), southern (16.0%), and western (13.6%). [Table 1] summarizes respondents' demographic characteristics and region of the residency program.
Table 1: Characteristics of the study respondents

Click here to view


As shown in [Table 2], 50 (61.7%) of the surveyed residents thought that they would consider IV thrombolysis in AIS patients. Most of the respondents (64, 79.0%) did not think that they have good knowledge of IV thrombolysis for AIS. More than two-thirds (56, 69.1%) thought that IV thrombolysis is safe. More than half (43, 53.1%) felt not confident about their ability to employ IV thrombolysis for patients with AIS. The vast majority (59, 72.8%) showed positive attitudes toward supporting hospitals in performing IV thrombolysis for AIS patients.
Table 2: Characteristics of the study respondents

Click here to view


[Table 3] summarizes respondents' perspective on using IV thrombolysis in AIS patients stratified by sex, residency stage, and region of residence. As can be seen, a statistically significant difference was detected in confidence with knowledge about IV thrombolysis, with senior residents (R5 and R4) being more likely to be confident than were junior residents (R2 and R3) (P = 0.000). There was a significant difference in attitudes toward IV thrombolysis, with males and senior residents being more likely to have positive attitudes than were females (P = 0.044) and senior residents (P = 0.002). Residents from the central region were also more likely to have positive attitudes (P = 0.043).
Table 3: Factors associated with neurology residents' perspective on using IV thrombolysis in AIS patients

Click here to view



  Discussion Top


The present study, for the first time, assessed neurology residents' knowledge and attitudes toward IV thrombolysis in patients with AIS and showed that 72.8% of the surveyed residents supported hospitals in using IV thrombolysis in patients with AIS. Although there are no previous studies that included neurology residents in the assessment of knowledge and attitudes related to the use of IV thrombolysis, our findings are comparable with some of the existing studies reporting an increasing acceptance of IV thrombolysis among neurologists worldwide. A study by Villar-Cordova et al. (1998) showed that 60% of the American neurologists would perform IV thrombolysis for eligible patients.[22] Brown et al. (2005) found that 60% of American emergency physicians would consider IV thrombolysis.[23] However, higher acceptance rates (90.1%) were found among Chinese neurologists.[8] This increased acceptance may be attributed to the increasing evidence supporting the validity and effectiveness of thrombolytic therapy.[24],[25],[26],[27]

Although 61.7% of the surveyed residents thought they would use IV thrombolysis for AIS patients, more than half (53.1%) felt not confident with their knowledge about thrombolysis therapy, a finding consistent with some of the previous studies.[8] Proficiency of knowledge is essential to perform IV thrombolysis. Studies by Moradiya et al. showed that physicians working in teaching hospitals were more comfortable in performing IV thrombolysis than physicians working in other hospitals. One possible explanation is that teaching hospitals may increase the working physicians' exposure to thrombolytic therapy and keep them updated with the new advances in thrombolysis.[28],[29] In this study, the confidence was significantly more likely to be reported by senior residents than by junior residents. This finding could be reasonably attributed to the amount of clinical experience, which is expectedly higher among senior residents. Moreover, increased confidence with the knowledge of thrombolysis and awareness of its safety could explain why senior residents were more likely to have positive attitudes toward thrombolysis in patients with AIS than junior residents. Male respondents were also more likely than females regarding attitudes toward thrombolysis but this finding needs to be further evaluated to find out whether attitudes toward thrombolysis have a sex predominance or whether there are unexplored factors affecting this association. Finally, attitudes were more likely to be positive among residents from the central region of Saudi Arabia. Although the difference is weakly significant, the analysis showed that the acceptance rate of IV thrombolysis was higher, though not significant, among respondents from this region.

Stroke education is essential to increase stroke knowledge among both the professional community and the public. Hence, the endorsement of stroke-specific literacy among neurology residents and primary care physicians would lead to advantageous outcomes of stroke management as a rapid approach to the healthcare system is needed by eligible patients to receive thrombolysis. This is the first study to explore knowledge and attitudes of neurology residents towards IV thrombolysis, this study may serve as a paradigm for local studies on the subject. However, some limitations to the present study are noteworthy. The use of subjective self-reported questionnaires may have led to overestimation of knowledge about IV thrombolysis. Owing to the online nature of the survey, the small sample size and potential sampling bias are inevitable.


  Conclusion Top


The surveyed neurology residents showed a positive attitudes toward the safety and use of IV thrombolysis for AIS patients. However, knowledge and confidence with knowledge about the treatment are lacking. Therefore, theoretical and practical training is warranted to improve knowledge about IV thrombolysis.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Tran J, Mirzaei M, Anderson L, Leeder SR. The epidemiology of stroke in the Middle East and North Africa. J Neurol Sci 2010;295:38-40.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Khan MS, Mahmood S, Badshah A, Ali SU, Jamal Y. Prevalence of depression, anxiety and their associated factors among medical students in Karachi, Pakistan. J Pak Med Assoc 2006;56:583-6.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Jo K, Strzelczuk-Judka L, Sz E, Stefaniak Ł. Medical students 'awareness of radiation exposure related to radiological imaging procedures. J Med Sci 2014;3:244-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Thrift AG, Thayabaranathan T, Howard G, Howard VJ, Rothwell PM, Feigin VL, et al. Global stroke statistics. Int J Stroke 2017;12:13-32.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke rt-PA Stroke Study Group. Tissue plasminogen activator for acute ischemic stroke. N Engl J Med 1995;333:1581-7.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Grotta JC. tPA for stroke: Important progress in achieving faster treatment. JAMA 311:1615-7.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Merlino G, Corazza E, Lorenzut S, Gigli G, Cargnelutti D, Valente M. Efficacy and safety of intravenous thrombolysis in patients with acute ischemic stroke and pre–existing disability. J Clin Med 2019;8:400.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
Wang MD, Yin XX, Yang TT, Wang Y, Zhu YY, Zhou YF, et al. Chinese neurologists' perspective on intravenous thrombolysis for acute ischemic stroke. Brain Behav 2018;8:e00882.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Polymeris AA, Curtze S, Erdur H, Hametner C, Heldner MR, Groot AE, et al. Intravenous thrombolysis for suspected ischemic stroke with seizure at onset. Ann Neurol 2019;86:770-9.  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.
Adeoye O, Hornung R, Khatri P, Kleindorfer D. Recombinant tissue-type plasminogen activator use for ischemic stroke in the United States: A doubling of treatment rates over the course of 5 years. Stroke 2011;42:1952-5.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Wang Y, Liao X, Zhao X, Wang DZ, Wang C, Nguyen-Huynh MN, et al. Using recombinant tissue plasminogen activator to treat acute ischemic stroke in China: Analysis of the results from the Chinese national stroke registry (CNSR). Stroke 2011;42:1658-64.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Tong D. Are all IV thrombolysis exclusion criteria necessary? Being SMART about evidence-based medicine. Neurology 2011;76:1780-1.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Barber PA, Zhang J, Demchuk AM, Hill MD, Buchan AM. Why are stroke patients excluded from TPA therapy?: An analysis of patient eligibility. Neurology 2001;56:1015-20.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Deng YZ, Reeves MJ, Jacobs BS, Birbeck GL, Kothari RU, Hickenbottom SL, et al. IV tissue plasminogen activator use in acute stroke: Experience from a statewide registry. Neurology 2006;66:306-12.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Wahlgren N, Ahmed N, Dávalos A, Ford GA, Grond M, Hacke W, et al. Thrombolysis with alteplase for acute ischaemic stroke in the Safe implementation of thrombolysis in stroke-monitoring study (SITS-MOST): An observational study. Lancet (London, England) 2007;369:275-82.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
Eissa A, Krass I, Bajorek BV. Barriers to the utilization of thrombolysis for acute ischaemic stroke. J Clin Pharm Ther 2012;37:399-409.  Back to cited text no. 16
    
17.
Rossnagel K, Jungehülsing GJ, Nolte CH, Müller-Nordhorn J, Roll S, Wegscheider K, et al. Out-of-hospital delays in patients with acute stroke. Ann Emerg Med 2004;44:476-83.  Back to cited text no. 17
    
18.
Zhou Y, Yang T, Gong Y, Li W, Chen Y, Li J, et al. Pre-hospital delay after acute ischemic stroke in central urban China: Prevalence and risk factors. Mol Neurobiol 2017;54:3007-16.  Back to cited text no. 18
    
19.
Chai E, Li C, Jiang L. Factors affecting in-hospital delay of intravenous thrombolysis for acute ischemic stroke: A retrospective cohort study. Medicine (Baltimore) 2019;98:e15422.  Back to cited text no. 19
    
20.
Alanazy MH, Barakeh RB, Asiri A, Edrees MF, Abuzinadah AR, Aljafen BN, et al. Practice patterns and barriers for intravenous thrombolysis: A survey of neurologists in Saudi Arabia. Neurol Res Int 2018;2018:1695014.  Back to cited text no. 20
    
21.
Ma L, Niu X, Zhang W, Fang Y, Wang J. Assessment of neurologists' knowledge regarding intravenous fibrinolytic therapy for acute stroke in Shanxi province in China. BMC Health Serv Res 2017;17:358.  Back to cited text no. 21
    
22.
Villar-Cordova C, Morgenstern LB, Barnholtz JS, Frankowski RF, Grotta JC. Neurologists' attitudes regarding rt-PA for acute ischemic stroke. Neurology 1998;50:1491-4.  Back to cited text no. 22
    
23.
Brown DL, Barsan WG, Lisabeth LD, Gallery ME, Morgenstern LB. Survey of emergency physicians about recombinant tissue plasminogen activator for acute ischemic stroke. Ann Emerg Med 2005;46:56-60.  Back to cited text no. 23
    
24.
Fugate JE, Rabinstein AA. Update on intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator for acute ischemic stroke. Mayo Clin Proc 2014;89:960-72.  Back to cited text no. 24
    
25.
Hacke W, Kaste M, Bluhmki E, Brozman M, Dávalos A, Guidetti D, et al. Thrombolysis with alteplase 3 to 4.5 hours after acute ischemic stroke. N Engl J Med 2008;359:1317-29.  Back to cited text no. 25
    
26.
Powers WJ, Rabinstein AA, Ackerson T, Adeoye OM, Bambakidis NC, Becker K, et al. 2018 guidelines for the early management of patients with acute ischemic stroke: A guideline for healthcare professionals from the American heart association/American stroke association. Stroke 2018;49:e46-110.  Back to cited text no. 26
    
27.
Prabhakaran S, Ruff I, Bernstein RA. Acute stroke intervention: A systematic review. JAMA 2015;313:1451-62.  Back to cited text no. 27
    
28.
Schumacher HC, Bateman BT, Boden-Albala B, Berman MF, Mohr JP, Sacco RL, et al. Use of thrombolysis in acute ischemic stroke: Analysis of the nationwide inpatient sample 1999 to 2004. Ann Emerg Med 2007;50:99-107.  Back to cited text no. 28
    
29.
Moradiya Y, Crystal H, Valsamis H, Levine SR. Thrombolytic utilization for ischemic stroke in US hospitals with neurology residency program. Neurology 2013;81:1986-95.  Back to cited text no. 29
    



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]



 

Top
   
 
  Search
 
Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

 
  In this article
   Abstract
  Introduction
   Materials and Me...
  Results
  Discussion
  Conclusion
   References
   Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    Viewed73    
    Printed0    
    Emailed0    
    PDF Downloaded12    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal