Acute stroke care in Korea in 2013-2014: National averages and disparities

Jun Yup Kim, Keon Joo Lee, Jihoon Kang, Beom Joon Kim, Seong Eun Kim, Hyunji Oh, Hong Kyun Park, Yong Jin Cho, Jong Moo Park, Kwang Yeol Park, Kyung Bok Lee, Soo Joo Lee, Tackeun Kim, Ji Sung Lee, Juneyoung Lee, Ki Hwa Yang, Ah Rum Choi, Mi Yeon Kang, Hee Joon Bae

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: This study aimed to describe the current status of acute stroke care in Korea and explore disparities among hospitals and regions. Methods: The 2013 and 2014 national stroke audit data and the national health insurance claims data were linked and used for this study. Stroke patients hospitalized via emergency rooms within 7 days of stroke onset were selected. Results: A total of 19,608 patients treated in 216 hospitals were analyzed. Among them 76% had ischemic stroke; 15%, intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH); and 9%, subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). Of the hospitals, 31% provided inpatient stroke unit care. Ambulances were used in 56% of cases, and the median interval from onset to arrival was 4.5 hours. One-quarter of patients were referred from other hospitals. Intravenous thrombolysis (IVT) and endovascular treatment (EVT) rates were 11% and 4%, respectively. Three-quarters of the analyzed hospitals provided IVT and/or EVT, whereas 47% of hospitals providing IVT and 67% of hospitals providing EVT had less than one case per month. Decompressive surgery was performed on 28% of ICH patients, and clipping and coiling were performed in 17.2% and 14.3% of SAH patients, respectively. There were noticeable regional disparities between the various interventions, ambulance use, arrival time, and stroke unit availability. Conclusion: This study describes the current status of acute stroke care in Korea. Despite quite acceptable quality of stroke care, it suggests regional and hospital disparities. Expansion of stroke units, stroke center certification or accreditation, and connections between stroke centers and emergency medical services are highly recommended.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberE167
    JournalJournal of Korean medical science
    Issue number20
    Publication statusPublished - 2020 May 25

    Bibliographical note

    Funding Information:
    This report was partially funded (code 2017ER620102) by the Research of Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2020 The Korean Academy of Medical Sciences.


    • Cerebral hemorrhage
    • Cerebral infarction
    • Epidemiology
    • Stroke
    • Subarachnoid hemorrhage

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Medicine


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