Stroke Units in Italy

Livia Candelise, A. Bersano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It is well known that stroke is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Previous studies and metaanalysis provide evidence favouring care of stroke patients in Stroke Units (SU). We published data on SU coverage for seven Italian regions during 2000-2001. The aim of this study is to conduct a new recent survey of SUs in the entire national territory and to evaluate changes in number of SUs and in organisation of in-hospital care in the seven Italian regions evaluated in our previous survey. Hospital services were identified through the diagnosis-related groups (DRG 14) from national hospital discharge registers. We selected services recording at least 50 acute stroke discharges per year. The characteristics of hospital services were obtained from a structured questionnaire submitted by phone by trained researchers to the doctors in charge of services. A SU was defined as a ward that admits acute stroke patients cared for in dedicated beds and by dedicated staff. Out of 676 hospital services evaluated during 2003-2004, 68 were SUs. The national coverage for SU services was 10%, ranging from 0% to 50% in different regions. In 2003-2004 SUs admitted 10% of the total national acute stroke cases. SUs have a more facilitated access to diagnostic evaluations and also seem to be better organised than general wards. Between 2000 and 2004 the number of SUs increased from 7% to 11% in the seven regions evaluated in our first survey. Notwithstanding we found an increase of 30% in the number of SUs, at least in the regions previously evaluated, there is still a shortage of SU beds and high regional heterogeneity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurological Sciences
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


  • Acute stroke
  • Organisation of care
  • Stroke Unit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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