Relationships among hospital acute ischemic stroke volumes, hospital characteristics, and outcomes in the US

Louise McCarthy, David Daniel, Daniel Santos, Mandip S. Dhamoon

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Abstract

Background and Objectives: Prior research on volume-based patient outcomes related to acute ischemic stroke (AIS) have demonstrated contradictory results and fail to reflect recent advances in stroke care. We sought to examine contemporary relationships between hospital AIS volumes and outcomes. Methods: We used complete Medicare datasets in a retrospective cohort study using validated International Classification of Diseases Tenth Revision codes to identify patients admitted with AIS from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2019. AIS volume was calculated as the total number of AIS admissions per hospital during the study period. We examined several hospital characteristics by AIS volume quartile. We performed adjusted logistic regressions testing associations of AIS volume quartiles with: inpatient mortality, receipt of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) and endovascular therapy (ET), discharge home, and 30-day outpatient visit. We adjusted for sex, age, Charlson comorbidity score, teaching hospital status, MDI, hospital urban-rural designation, stroke certification status and ICU and neurologist availability at the hospital. Results: There were 952400 AIS admissions among 5084 US hospitals; AIS 4-year volume quartiles were: 1st: 1-8 AIS admissions; 2nd: 9-44; 3rd: 45-237; 4th: 238+. Highest quartile hospitals more often were stroke-certified (49.1% vs 8.7% in lowest quartile, p<0.0001), with ICU bed availability (19.8% vs 4.1%, p<0.0001) and with neurologist expertise (91.1% vs 3%, p<0.0001). In the highest AIS quartile (compared to the lowest quartile), there was lower inpatient mortality (odds ratio [OR] 0.71 [95%CI 0.57-0.87, p<0.0001]), lower 30-day mortality (0.55 [0.49-0.62], p<0.0001), greater receipt of tPA (6.60 [3.19-13.65], p<0.0001) and ET (16.43 [10.64-25.37], p<0.0001, and greater likelihood of discharge home (1.38 [1.22-1.56], p<0.0001). However, when the highest quartile hospitals were examined separately, higher volumes were associated with higher mortality despite higher rates of tPA and ET receipt. Conclusions: High AIS-volume hospitals have greater utilization of acute stroke interventions, stroke certification and availability of neurologist and ICU care. These features likely play a role in the better outcomes observed at such centers, including inpatient and 30-day mortality and discharge home. However, the highest volume centers had higher mortality despite greater receipt of interventions. Further research is needed to better understand volume-outcome relationships in AIS to improve care at lower volume centers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107170
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Volume32
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Keywords

  • Acute ischemic stroke
  • Case volumes
  • Epidemiology

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