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National Survey of Thrombolytic Therapy for Acute Ischemic Stroke in Taiwan 2003-2010

Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
DOI: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2013.07.043
  • Thrombolytic Therapy
  • Rtpa
  • Acute Ischemic Stroke
  • Utilization Pattern
  • Taiwan
  • Asia
  • Medicine


Data on thrombolytic therapy at the national level is scarce in Asia. Understanding current practice pattern is important for a policy maker in decision making. This cross-sectional study analyzed the utilization pattern of thrombolytic therapy for acute ischemic stroke (AIS) in Taiwan from 2003 through 2010 and identified factors associated with post-therapy intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) and mortality. From the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database, we retrieved inpatient claims for patients with AIS. The frequency of thrombolytic therapy in AIS admissions and its association with the characteristics of patients, physicians, and hospitals were analyzed. Factors predicting ICH and in-hospital mortality were also analyzed using multiple logistic regressions. Of 394,988 patients with AIS, 2385 (.60%) had received thrombolytic therapy. The utilization rate increased from .03% in 2003 to 1.51% in 2010. Thrombolytic therapy was adopted earlier in a belt of high-frequency counties across rural midwestern Taiwan, twice the rate in the Taipei and Kaohsiung cities. The neurology specialty and hospital's service volume were the most dominant factors related to higher utilization, in addition to weekend admission and the patient's age and comorbidities. ICH and in-hospital mortality rates were 3.48% and 7.71%, respectively. Patients given thrombolytic therapy in hospitals with thrombolysis cases more than the 5.5/year had a lower risk of ICH (odds ratio: .53; 95% confidence interval: .31-.88). Compared with most developed countries, there is indeed much unmet need for stroke thrombolysis in Taiwan. Effective mechanism should be implemented to increase the thrombolysis rate safely and improve outcome for patients with AIS.

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