Yicong Chen, Qingfeng Lei, Jiaoxing Li, Jianle Li, Yinxin He, Jingjing Li, Shihui Xing, Yuhua Fan, Jinsheng Zeng

Certification of stroke centers at primary hospitals and the improvement of thrombolysis n South China during 2020–2022

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Neurology (clinical)

Introduction: IVT use declined globally in 2020 due to the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, but it increased in South China. This study was conducted to evaluate the association of establishing Stroke Prevention Centers (SPCs) at primary hospitals with IVT increase in South China. Materials and methods: We conducted a longitudinal observational study across 336 hospitals in 114 areas in South China during 2020–2022. Data regarding certified stroke centers, IVT volumes, and IVT rates were collected. Correlations between IVT rates and the number or density of stroke centers were accessed. IVT use was compared among areas with different levels of stroke centers or on different certification process. Results: During 2020–2022, there were 83, 125, and 152 stroke centers, with 26, 65, and 92 SPCs, respectively. IVT therapies were 12,795, 17,266, and 20,411, representing a 29.8% increase/year (all p < 0.001). IVT rates increased from 7.2% in 2020 to 8.8% and 10.4% in 2021 and 2022, demonstrating a 22.2% increase/year (all p < 0.001). IVT rates correlated with the number and density of SPCs (all p < 0.05). IVT rates were higher in areas equipped with SPCs than in those without stroke centers (all p < 0.05). IVT rates consistently increased during the SPC certification process from 1 year before through the certification and subsequent maintenance (both p < 0.05). Discussion and conclusion: Well-organised SPCs and IVT therapy demonstrated substantial increase during the 3-year period. Certification of SPCs at primary hospitals is associated with improved IVT therapy in South China even with city lockdown during COVID-19 pandemic.

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