An inventory of stroke centers in the United States

J Am Coll Emerg Physicians Open. 2022 Feb 28;3(2):e12673. doi: 10.1002/emp2.12673. eCollection 2022 Apr.


Objectives: Stroke centers are essential for the optimal care of patients with acute stroke. However, there is no universally applied standard for stroke center certification/designation and no unified list of confirmed US stroke centers. Multiple national organizations, and some state governments, certify/designate hospitals as stroke centers of various levels, but discrepancies exist between these systems. We aimed to create a unified, easily accessible, national stroke center database.

Methods: Lists of confirmed stroke centers were obtained from national certifying bodies (The Joint Commission [TJC], Det Norske Veritas, and Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program) and each state government. Lists were reconciled to a common standard based on TJC requirements and incorporated into the 2018 National Emergency Department Inventory-USA database, which includes all emergency departments (EDs).

Results: Among 5533 US EDs, we confirmed 2446 (44%) as stroke centers, including 297 Comprehensive Stroke Centers, 14 Thrombectomy-capable Stroke Centers, 1459 Primary Stroke Centers, and 678 Acute Stroke Ready Hospitals. Compared with EDs without stroke centers, EDs with stroke centers had higher annual visit volumes, were more often academic, and were more often located in hospitals that had trauma or burn centers.

Conclusion: We report the consolidation of multiple stroke center designation groups with varying criteria into a unified list of all confirmed US stroke centers linked to a comprehensive, national ED database. This data set will be valuable for future stroke systems research and improving access to emergency stroke care for patients. These data have the potential to further optimize the emergency care of patients with stroke.

Keywords: Acute Stroke Ready Hospital; Comprehensive Stroke Center; National Emergency Department Inventory–USA; Primary Stroke Center; Thrombectomy‐capable Stroke Center; stroke.