Pooled assessment of computed tomography interpretation by vascular neurologists in the STRokE DOC telestroke network

Ilana Spokoyny, Rema Raman, Karin Ernstrom, Bart M. Demaerschalk, Patrick D. Lyden, Thomas M. Hemmen, Amy K. Guzik, James Y. Chen, Brett C. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: The objective of this pooled analysis was to determine the level of agreement between central read and each of 2 groups (spoke radiologists and hub vascular neurologists) in interpreting head computed tomography (CT) scans of stroke patients presenting to telestroke network hospitals. Methods: The Stroke Team Remote Evaluation Using a Digital Observation Camera (STRokE DOC and STRokE DOC-AZ TIME) trials were prospective, randomized, and outcome blinded comparing telemedicine and teleradiology with telephone-only consultations. In each trial, the CT scans of the subjects were interpreted by the hub vascular neurologist in the telemedicine arm and by the spoke radiologist in the telephone arm. We obtained a central read for each CT using adjudicating committees blinded to treatment arm and outcome. The data were pooled and the results reported for the entire population. Kappa statistics and exact agreement rates were used to assess interobserver agreement for radiographic contraindication to recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA), presence of hemorrhage, tumor, hyperdense artery, acute stroke, prior stroke, and early ischemic changes. Results: Among 261 analyzed cases, the agreement with central read for the presence of radiological rt-PA contraindication was excellent for hub vascular neurologist (96.2%, κ =.81, 95% CI.64-.97), spoke radiologist report (94.7%, κ =.64, 95% CI.39-.88), and overall (95.4%, κ =.74, 95% CI.59-.88). For rt-PA-treated patients (N = 65), overall agreement was 98.5%, and vascular neurologist agreement with central read was 100%. Conclusions: Both vascular neurologists and reports from spoke radiologists had excellent reliability in identifying radiologic rt-PA contraindications. These pooled findings demonstrate that telestroke evaluation of head CT scans for acute rt-PA assessments is reliable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)511-515
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • CT interpretation by nonradiologists
  • Telemedicine
  • computed tomography
  • stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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