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Top Stroke Centers Too Far Away For Many Americans

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In the case of a stroke, more than one-third of Americans would be without the best healthcare options due to the time it takes them to reach their nearest stroke center, according to a new study which was published on March 4 in the journal Neurology.

In the new study, researchers generated a computer model to portray which primary stroke centers should be upgraded to comprehensive centers in order to optimize access for as many Americans as possible.

The study’s lead author, the University of Pennsylvania’s Dr. Michael Mullen, was quoted by WTAQ as having said that the effective stroke treatments are “time sensitive” and as a result, the more quickly patients are treated, “the more likely they are to be eligible for acute stroke therapies and the more effective those therapies will be.”

Research has shown that specialized stroke care has the potential to reduce death and disability […] Stroke is a time-critical disease. Each second after a stroke begins, brain cells die, so it is critically important that specialized stroke care be rapidly accessible to the population

In the model created by the study’s researchers, more than one-third of the American population would still be more than 60-minutes away from top care centers even in a hypothetical scenario in which every state had up to 20 hospitals providing top healthcare.

The study concluded that were there 20 ideally located primary stroke centers in each state that were transformed into comprehensive stroke centers, 63 percent of Americans would live within a one-hour drive and another 23 percent would find themselves within a one-hour flight from a comprehensive stroke center.

The next level of classification, comprehensive, was established back in 2012, according to a report on Philly. The new three-tiered regionalized system of healthcare entails the designation of certain hospitals as primary stroke centers (PSCs) and others as comprehensive stroke centers (CSCs). The latter of which, the CSCs, being those which provide the highest level of care for patients afflicted with a stroke.

Are you hoping that this new study will help health planners and policy makers establish a network of ideally placed comprehensive stroke centers across the United States?

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