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Contemporary data on temporal trends in acute stroke incidence, specific to stroke type and age, are lacking. We sought to evaluate temporal trends in incidence of ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage over 15 years in a large population.
We used linked administrative data to identify all emergency department visits and hospital admissions for first-ever ischemic stroke or intracerebral hemorrhage in Ontario, Canada from 2003–2017. We evaluated annual age-/sex-standardized incidence per 100,000 person-years for ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage across the study period. We used negative binomial regression to determine incidence rate ratios for each year compared to 2003, with assessment of modification by age, sex, or stroke type.
Our cohort had 163,574 people with stroke (88% ischemic stroke). For ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage combined, age-/sex-standardized incidence decreased between 2003 and 2011 (standardized rate 109.4 to 85.8 per 100,000; 22%), then increased until 2017 (standardized rate 96.8 per 100,000; 13%). The pattern of change was similar for ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage, and for men and women, but was modified by age. For those aged 60 and above, adjusted incidence rate ratios decreased from 2003 to 2011 then subsequently increased, whereas for those aged <60 years incidence rate ratios increased throughout the entire study time period, particularly after 2011.
Acute stroke incidence decreased from 2003 to 2011 but subsequently increased until 2017. Among those aged <60, incidence increased continuously from 2003 to 2017 but especially after 2011. The underlying reasons for these changes should be determined.
Delayed presentation to the emergency department influences acute stroke care and can result in worse outcomes. Despite public health messaging, many young adults consider stroke as a disease of older people. We determined the differences in ambulance utilization and delays to hospital presentation between women and men as well as younger (18–44 years) versus older (≥45 years) patients with stroke.
We conducted a population-based retrospective study using national administrative health data from the Canadian Institute of Health Information databases and examined data between 2003 and 2016 to compare ambulance utilization and time to hospital presentation across sex and age.
Young adults account for 3.9% of 463,310 stroke/transient ischemic attack/hemorrhage admissions. They have a higher proportion of hemorrhage (37% vs. 15%) and fewer ischemic events (50% vs. 68%) compared with older patients. Younger patients are less likely to arrive by ambulance (62% vs. 66%, p < 0.001), with younger women least likely to use ambulance services (61%) and older women most likely (68%). Median stroke onset to hospital arrival times were 7 h for older patients and younger men, but 9 h in younger women. There has been no improvement among young women in ambulance utilization since 2003, whereas ambulance use increased in all other groups.
Younger adults, especially younger women, are less likely to use ambulance services, take longer to get to hospital, and have not improved in utilization of emergency services for stroke over 13 years. Targeted public health messaging is required to ensure younger adults seek emergency stroke care.
Optimal stroke care requires access to resources such as neuroimaging, acute revascularization, rehabilitation, and stroke prevention services, which may not be available in rural areas. We aimed to determine geographic access to stroke care for residents of rural communities in the province of Ontario, Canada.
We used the Ontario Road Network File database linked with the 2016 Ontario Acute Stroke Care Resource Inventory to estimate the proportion of people in rural communities, defined as those with a population size <10,000, who were within 30, 60, and 240 minutes of travel time by car from stroke care services, including brain imaging, thrombolysis treatment centers, stroke units, stroke prevention clinics, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and endovascular treatment centers.
Of the 1,496,262 people residing in rural communities, the majority resided within 60 minutes of driving time to a center with computed tomography (85%), thrombolysis (81%), a stroke unit (68%), a stroke prevention clinic (74%), or inpatient rehabilitation (77.0%), but a much lower proportion (32%) were within 60 minutes of driving time to a center capable of providing endovascular thrombectomy (EVT).
Most rural Ontario residents have appropriate geographic access to stroke services, with the exception of EVT. This information may be useful for jurisdictions seeking to optimize the regional organization of stroke care services.
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