Background: In the certification of stroke centers, the performance of serial nursing neurological assessments and reassessments, commonly known as neurochecks, is often cited as one of the most problematic standards. The role of neurochecks is to readily detect neurological change, but it is surprising that this practice has undergone relatively little scientific study. Their effectiveness in detecting worsening in acute ischemic stroke patients has not been well studied. Our objective was to investigate the sensitivity of neurochecks to detect neurological deterioration after acute ischemic stroke. We performed a retrospective chart review of patients with acute ischemic stroke who were admitted to a comprehensive stroke center over a 2-year period and who received intravenous thrombolysis. The incidence, reasons, and detection rates for neurological deterioration by neurochecks were collected during the first 72 hours of admission. Results: A total of 231 patient records were reviewed. Over the first 72 hours of admission, each patient had a mean of 63±15 neurochecks. Neurological worsening as determined by a stroke neurologist was found in 62 (27%) patients. This deterioration was first detected by a scheduled neurocheck in 28 (45%) patients and was discovered by the nurse outside of a scheduled neurocheck in 16 (26%) patients. In 18 out of 62 (29%) patients, the worsening was not detected. Conclusions: Although neurochecks detected neurological deterioration in almost half of patients with acute stroke, a significant proportion of deteriorations were found outside scheduled assessments or remained undetected. This suggests that novel monitoring strategies are needed to readily identify worsening neurological status in acute stroke.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing