Volume 38, Issue 2 ,2016

“Time is Brain:” A concept analysis
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By Susan Alcock, RN, BScN, and Jo-Ann V. Sawatzky, RN, PhD


Time is brain has been heard echoing in the world of acute stroke since the early nineties. At that time, the use of intravenous recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rt-PA) revolutionized the approach to treating acute ischemic stroke. However, the use of rt-PA is strongly time dependant, with a narrow window of opportunity of only 4.5 hours. There is also convincing scientific evidence of a significant relationship between time to rt-PA treatment and patient outcomes. Similar to rt-PA in the ’90s, time sensitive endovascular therapy has transformed the treatment of acute stroke. Hence, time is brain has been referred to as a battle cry, with these three words significantly influencing the multidisciplinary stroke teams who provide care to stroke victims.

Despite agreement in the scientific literature that time is brain represents the essence of hyperacute stroke care, this concept has not been studied through the methodological approach of a concept analysis framework. Therefore, the purpose of this concept analysis was to explore the concept of time is brain within the context of acute stroke. Walker and Avant’s (2011) approach to concept analyses was used to gain insight into the provision of optimal acute stroke care in clinical nursing practice.