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Table 2 Characteristics of 1269 patients with symptoms suggestive of TIA or stroke calling the OHS-PC

From: Accuracy of telephone triage in patients suspected of transient ischaemic attack or stroke: a cross-sectional study

  High NTS urgency
n = 770 (60.7%)
Low NTS urgency
n = 499 (39.3%)
P-value#
Patient characteristics:
 Median age in years (IQR) 73.5 (59.0–84.0) 69.0 (55.0–82.0) < 0.001
 Female sex 441 (57.3) 281 (56.3) 0.736
 Family history of CVD (n = 36) 14 (82.4) 13 (68.4) 0.451&
Medical history:
 Cardiovascular disease (n = 882) 421 (79.1) 259 (74.0) 0.076
 TIA (n = 637) 116 (29.7) 60 (24.4) 0.147
 Stroke (n = 637) 113 (28.9) 60 (24.4) 0.213
 Coronary artery disease (n = 303) 36 (20.6) 18 (14.1) 0.144
 Arrhythmia (n = 292) 32 (19.5) 25 (19.5) 0.997
 Valvular heart disease (n = 260) 16 (10.9) 9 (8.0) 0.429
 Heart failure (n = 263) 14 (9.5) 10 (8.7) 0.831
 Epilepsy (n = 233) 15 (11.6) 9 (8.7) 0.458
 Migraine (n = 102) 17 (27.0) 14 (35.9) 0.342
Cardiovascular risk factors: 14 (9.5) 10 (8.7) 0.831
 Hypertension (n = 421) 121 (50.2) 85 (47.2) 0.544
 Hypercholesterolemia or use of statins (n = 395) 95 (43.0) 75 (43.1) 0.981
 Diabetes mellitus (n = 417) 87 (36.7) 63 (35.0) 0.719
Cardiovascular medication:
 Antithrombotics (n = 939) 290 (48.7) 149 (43.4) 0.123
 Other cardiovascular medication (n = 764) 253 (57.55) 178 (54.9) 0.480
Call characteristics:
 Median call duration in min:sec (IQR) 06:32 (04:43–08:54) 07:59 (05:54–10:50) < 0.001
 Median time for caller’s introduction in min:sec (IQR) 00:19 (00:12–00:27) 00:20 (00:13–00:29) 0.189
 Initial call by someone else than the patient 621 (80.6) 342 (68.5) < 0.001
 Triage nurse consulted the general practitioner 449 (58.3) 305 (61.1) 0.319
Main NTS complaint chosen by triage nurse
 Neurological deficit 587 (76.2) 220 (44.1) < 0.001
 Dizziness 21 (2.7) 87 (17.4) < 0.001
 Headache 23 (3.0) 28 (5.6) 0.020
 Odd behavior 21 (2.7) 18 (3.6) 0.375
 Syncope 20 (2.6) 9 (1.8) 0.355
 Vision problem 2 (0.3) 25 (5.0) < 0.001&
 Leg or arm problem 11 (1.4) 34 (6.8) < 0.001
 Other^ 85 (11.0) 78 (15.6) 0.017
Symptoms mentioned during the call
 Decreased or loss of consciousness (n = 1103) 49 (7.4) 21 (4.8) 0.081
 Face drooping (n = 713) 258 (54.3) 93 (39.1) < 0.001
 Arm weakness (n = 772) 254 (51.0) 77 (28.1) < 0.001
 Leg weakness (n = 653) 201 (49.0) 85 (35.0) < 0.001
 Sensory disturbances (n = 375) 192 (89.7) 150 (93.2) 0.243
 Communication problem in general (n = 769) 413 (80.8) 187 (72.5) 0.008
 Dysarthria (n = 416) 181 (65.1) 76 (55.1) 0.047
 Dysphasia (n = 419) 163 (59.1) 72 (50.3) 0.089
 Vision problem in general (n = 184) 68 (78.2) 82 (84.5) 0.266
 Blurry vision (n = 74) 27 (77.1) 27 (69.2) 0.444
 Diplopia (n = 74) 14 (63.6) 23 (44.2) 0.127
 Reduced vision (n = 62) 15 (53.6) 22 (64.7) 0.374
 Headache (n = 497) 147 (57.0) 140 (58.6) 0.718
 Loss of balance/motor coordination (ataxia) (n = 236) 130 (86.1) 66 (77.6) 0.097
 Dizziness (n = 312) 120 (82.2) 143 (86.1) 0.338
 Seizure (n = 11) 4 (66.7) 3 (60.0) 0.819&
 Short term memory loss (n = 68) 33 (76.7) 21 (84.0) 0.476
 Shortness of breath (n = 403) 62 (24.4) 25 (16.8) 0.072
Autonomic nervous system associated symptoms
 Sweating (n = 208) 47 (36.7) 45 (56.3) 0.006
 Nausea or vomiting (n = 311) 84 (61.8) 94 (53.7) 0.155
 Pallor (n = 255) 54 (32.7) 27 (30.0) 0.655
 Ashen skin (n = 198) 18 (14.1) 12 (17.1) 0.563
 (Feeling of nearly) fainting (n = 1103) 57 (8.6) 41 (9.3) 0.680
Course of symptoms
Onset of symptoms:
 Per acute (seconds) (n = 211) 52 (44.1) 56 (60.2) 0.020
 Acute (minutes) (n = 211) 46 (39.0) 23 (24.7) 0.028
 Gradually (hours) (n = 211) 20 (16.9) 14 (15.1) 0.710
 Duration of symptoms ≤4.5 h (n = 986) 381 (61.4) 203 (55.6) 0.077
 Symptoms still present at time of calling (n = 1254) 716 (93.4) 438 (89.9) 0.030
Other characteristics
 Caller expresses concern (n = 628) 334 (90.3) 248 (96.1) 0.006
 Patient never experienced similar symptoms before (n = 368) 104 (49.8) 68 (42.8) 0.183
 Recognition of symptoms:
 TIA (n = 368) 40 (19.1) 26 (16.4) 0.490
 Stroke (n = 368) 25 (12.0) 16 (10.1) 0.566
  1. N number (first column) stands for number of patients in which information on the variable of that row is known
  2. NTS Netherlands Triage Standard, IQR interquartile range, CVD Cardiovascular disease, TIA Transient ischaemic attack
  3. High NTS urgency: U1 and U2; Low NTS urgency: U3, U4 and U5
  4. *Concerns all cardiovascular medication with the exception of antithrombotics; #Pearson Chi Square Test for categorical variables and Mann-Whitney U Test for not normally distributed continuous variables; &Fisher’s Exact Test for categorical variables; ^Amongst others: vomiting, dyspnea, neck symptoms, insult, disability problems (‘D from ABCD’)