Stroke Physician Training in China
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Rapid advances in stroke diagnostics and management, and gains in our knowledge of stroke pathogenesis, pathophysiology, and prevention, make it essential for physicians to develop specialized skills in all aspects of stroke care. It is no longer feasible for general physicians or even internists to address issues that can affect patient outcome, such as reperfusion assessment and decision making in acute ischemic stroke, optimal blood pressure management, selection of patients for anticoagulation or cardiac intervention, genetic aspects of stroke, interpretation of advanced neuroimaging findings, or the diagnosis and management of the not-so-uncommon causes of stroke, such as cerebral artery dissection, vasculitis, and Moyamoya disease. Expansion of stroke-related knowledge and therapeutics has led to the establishment of Vascular Neurology as a subspecialty within Neurology in United States.1 With the advent of new interventions, such as endovascular thrombectomy, stroke physicians are and will continue to be at the forefront of stroke care worldwide.
The number of patients with stroke and stroke survivors in China has been growing rapidly. Stroke care has become a national priority in China. During the past few years, a dedicated stroke medical association (China Stroke Association), regional and national stroke meetings (such as Tiantan International Stroke Conference), and focused journals (Stroke and Vascular Neurology) have emerged. Chinese patients, general physicians, and even neurologists are now seeking the advice of physicians with specific training and expertise in stroke. Specialized training and certification of stroke physicians are clearly warranted. This article presents information about the current demand from stroke burden in China and its organizational care, details of stroke-related medical education, and the future direction of stroke physician training in China.
Increasing Burden of Stroke in China
In 2013, there were ≈2.4 million new patients with stroke and 11.1 million stroke survivors.2 Given the rapidly aging population for the next 2 decades, the incidence …