Searching public databases in 2010, researchers looked at the distribution of primary stroke centers, designated such by state health departments or national organizations (such as The Joint Commission in collaboration with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association). They found that 24 percent of acute general hospitals are certified stroke centers.
Notably, in the eight states that have a state-based program that designates such hospitals, the percentage (63 percent) of certified stroke centers was higher than in states that don't (13 percent).
Stroke centers that were certified by only state programs were smaller as shown by bed numbers than those that were certified by The Joint Commission certification, researchers said.
Researchers found several factors increased the chances of a hospital being designated a certified stroke center, including: location in an urban area, larger hospital size and the presence of a state health department stroke program.
Hospitals were less likely to be certified stroke centers if they were located in the South or West.
Researchers concluded that location of the hospital and the existence of a state stroke center certification program influenced the likelihood of a hospital being a certified stroke center. State legislation in stroke center designation could substantially increase the number of stroke centers across the United States, researchers said.