BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Statewide assessments of stroke prevention and treatment services were performed in North Carolina in 1998 and 2003. The 2003 survey found certain technologies, but not stroke-related programs, were more widely available. The survey was repeated in 2008 to determine whether there was an interval change in accessibility.
METHODS: A 2-page questionnaire was sent to each North Carolina hospital. Results were compared with the 1998 and 2003 surveys.
RESULTS: Complete responses were obtained from each of the state's emergent stroke care hospitals. The proportions providing CT angiography and diffusion-weighted MRI increased between each period (each P0.05). The proportions of hospitals having a group of "basic" stroke capabilities did not change (18%, 21%, and 20%, respectively, P>0.05). In 2008, 41% of North Carolina's population resided in a county with at least 1 Primary Stroke Center and an additional 40% in a county using telemedicine or having a transfer plan for patients with acute stroke.
CONCLUSIONS: The availability of certain diagnostic tests, but not specialty staff or stroke units, increased in North Carolina hospitals between 1998 and 2008. Although there was no change in stroke-related hospital-based organizational features between 1998 and 2003, there were improvements between 2003 and 2008, possibly reflecting programs aimed at developing stroke care systems.
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