Report: This is where Danes receive the best treatment of blood clots in the brain

​Denmark's fastest treatment of blood clots in the brain is at the Apoplexy Unit at Glostrup University Hospital, which is part of Rigshospitalet (the Copenhagen University Hospital) in the Capital Region of Denmark. Here patients receive treatment within 30 minutes from arrival.

​Patients suffering from blood clots must receive treatment as quickly as possible. This is because after about 4.5 hours with a blood clot in the brain, treatment will not work.

A new report from the Danish Apoplexy Register from 2014 shows that the fastest treatment provider in Denmark is the Apoplexy Unit at Glostrup University Hospital, which is part of Rigshospitalet in the Capital Region of Denmark.

And if we look at the region's overall median waiting time in this area, the Capital Region of Denmark is also the fastest provider in Denmark.

Low mortality rate

Helle K. Iversen, Consultant and manager for the apoplexy treatment at the Department of Neurology says that speed is of the utmost importance to prevent the patient from inflicting injury following apoplexy due to a blood clot in the brain.

"Therefore, we are very pleased that we are now the fastest among larger treatment facilities. We have a 21-minutes "door to needle" median time together with Bornholm. At the same time, the mortality rate is one of the lowest in Denmark. We are very pleased with this combination as it proves that the quickest treatment is also safe," said Helle K. Iversen.

Optimisation of time consumption

The fast response times at Rigshospitalet, Glostrup is the result of ongoing efforts to maintain focus on the overall course of treatment among all specialist groups:

  • ​Ambulance technicians now take patients directly to the CAT scanner so that medicine can be administered immediately after the scan has ruled out haemorrhage or other conditions that may entail thrombolytic treatment is not an option. Previously, patients first had to go through the emergency department and get treatment after the scan.

  • The hospital got a new scanner in 2014 which patients can get to very quickly and where there is room for all the specialists who help make quick assessments and treatments. Two scanners are located close to one another and this makes it possible to treat two patients at the same time.

  • The Shared Medication Record enables the physician to see the patient's medicinal consumption already when the patient is registered, rather than having to spend time calling family and friends to obtain this information.

Knowledge is important

The most important thing in the event of a blood clot in the brain is quick treatment to dissolve the blood clot, i.e. so-called thrombolytic treatment.
This is important because brain cells die quickly when they do not receive oxygen because of the blood clot. The median time from the patient's arrival until medicine is administered is down to 21 minutes.

To improve this median, patients with symptoms of a blood clot in the brain must call the emergency service number 112 as quickly as possible.

Symptoms will tell you

Work is being done to create better knowledge about the symptoms. The report from the Danish Apoplexy Register indicates that a national campaign may strengthen awareness in this area.

“In order to increase the number of patients with apoplexy in Denmark who are admitted quickly, we need a campaign targeted at the general public, similar to a campaign recently carried out in Sweden," said the report.


  • ​Overall, the Capital Region of Denmark is the fastest provider in Denmark with a median waiting time of 25 minutes from the patient arriving at the hospital and until medicine is administered.

  • ​The median waiting time gives the truest picture of waiting time as it does not include special cases which take much longer time to treat for different reasons. However, taking into account the overall average waiting time, the Region Zealand where Roskilde Hospital has an apoplexy unit, is the fastest unit in Denmark with a waiting time of 36 minutes. The Capital Region of Denmark has an overall average waiting time of 39 minutes.

  • 15% of Danish patients receive thrombolytic treatment in time. The median is 21 minutes but the aim is to reach 10-15 minutes. There are limits to the extent of this average as some patients must receive treatment for high blood pressure before they can receive thrombolytic treatment.

  • 43% of patients who receive thrombolytic treatment are self-reliant after three months.

  • The Apoplexy Unit at the Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet, Glostrup is the largest of its kind in Denmark. The unit provides thrombolytic emergency treatment services for the entire Capital Region of Denmark on all odd-numbered dates. On even-numbered dates this treatment is carried out by Bispebjerg Hospital.

  • Thrombolytic treatment is also carried out at Bornholm’s Hospital as remote monitoring treatment where patient evaluations are made in collaboration with Rigshospitalet, Glostrup or Bispebjerg Hospital.​

Further information:

  • ​Helle K. Iversen, Responsible for apoplexy treatment, Consultant, MD, the Apoplexy Unit, the Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet, Glostrup, mobile phone: +45 24 23 81 96.

  • Public Relations in the Capital Region of Denmark, tel. +45 70 20 95 88

Responsible editor