BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Little is known about informed consent for tissue plasminogen activator (tPA). Our objectives were to determine how frequently informed consent is obtained when tPA is given to stroke patients in clinical practice and whether the person providing consent (patient or surrogate) was the appropriate decision-maker. METHODS: This retrospective cohort included acute stroke patients given tPA in 10 Connecticut hospitals (1996-1998). Consent was defined as any documentation of discussion about risks and benefits of tPA. Patients had adequate decision-making capacity if they were alert, oriented, and without aphasia or neglect (patient was appropriate decision-maker). Patients with any of these deficits were considered to have diminished capacity (surrogate was appropriate decision-maker). RESULTS: Among 63 patients who received tPA, 53 (84%) had informed consent documented; 16/53 (30%) gave their own consent. Among patients with adequate decision-making capacity, 5/8 (63%) had consent by surrogate. Among patients with diminished capacity, 7/38 (18%) provided their own consent. CONCLUSIONS: A substantial percentage of patients who received tPA for stroke had no consent documented. Surrogates often provided consent when the patients had capacity; conversely, patients with diminished capacity sometimes provided their own consent. Given the urgency and weight of the decision regarding tPA, more explicit informed consent and capacity assessment should be considered for treatment protocols.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation|
|State||Published - Sep 2004|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Advanced and Specialized Nursing