Vascular Neurologists as Directors of Stroke Centers in the United States
Background and Purpose—Hospital certification as primary and comprehensive stroke center is associated with improvement in care. We aimed to characterize the leadership at stroke centers nationwide to determine the proportion led by vascular neurologists, a board-recognized subspecialty focusing on stroke care.
Methods—We identified hospitals in the United States holding primary and comprehensive stroke center designation as of September 2013. We contacted each hospital to identify the medical director and used data from relevant medical boards to determine specialization. Sex and date of medical school graduation were obtained from an online physician database.
Results—Of the 1167 primary and 50 comprehensive stroke center hospitals certified by the Joint Commission (n=1114), Det Norske Veritas (n=68), and Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (n=35), we identified the director in 940 (77%). Leadership was most often by a neurologist (n=745; 79%) followed by physicians in emergency medicine (n=58; 6%) and internal medicine (n=17; 2%). Vascular neurologists (n=319) led about one-third of stroke centers. Directors were mostly men (n=764; 81%), with a median number of years after medical school graduation of 25 (interquartile range, 18–34). Comprehensive stroke centers were more likely than primary stroke centers to have leadership by vascular neurologist (77%, n=37 versus 32%, n=282; P<0.001).
Conclusions—Vascular neurologist led about one-third of stroke centers. There is opportunity for vascular neurologists to increase their role in stroke center directorship.
- Received May 18, 2015.
- Revision received June 17, 2013.
- Accepted June 19, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.