Regional variation in hospitalization for stroke among Asians/Pacific Islanders in the United States: A nationwide retrospective cohort study

  • Nguyen-Huynh M
  • Johnston S
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BACKGROUND: In Asia, stroke incidence varies dramatically from country to country. Little is known about stroke incidence in Asians/Pacific Islanders in the US, where regional heterogeneity in Asian/Pacific Islander sub-populations is great. We sought to characterize both the national and regional incidences of first and recurrent hospitalized acute ischemic stroke, subarachnoid hemorrhage, and intracerebral hemorrhage in Asians/Pacific Islanders compared to non-Hispanic whites.

METHODS: We used the National Inpatient Sample of the 1997 Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project. It is a 20% stratified sample of hospitalizations to nonfederal hospitals in the US. National and regional projections were made using sampling weights specific for patients and hospitals. We identified stroke subtypes using previously validated ICD-9 codes. Age-adjusted incidence rates were calculated using the direct method with the US population in 2000 as the standard.

RESULTS: There were 169,386 stroke hospitalizations in the database. Nationally, compared to whites, Asians/Pacific Islanders were more likely to have subarachnoid hemorrhage (incidence rate ratio {RR} female: 1.53, 95% CI 1.41-1.65; male RR: 1.13, 95% CI 1.00-1.27) and intracerebral hemorrhage (female RR 1.29, 95% CI 1.22-1.36; male RR: 1.58, 95% CI 1.50-1.67). However, when examined by geographic regions, Asians/Pacific Islanders had higher incidence rates of subarachnoid hemorrhage and intracerebral hemorrhage predominantly in the West, and lower rates of stroke elsewhere.

CONCLUSION: Stroke incidence varies 3-fold among Asians/Pacific Islanders residing in different US regions. Geographic variation is less dramatic in whites. Whether genetic or cultural differences are responsible for dramatic heterogeneity among Asian/Pacific Islander populations is unclear and deserves further study.

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  • Mai N. Nguyen-Huynh

  • S. Claiborne Johnston

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