- Academic Editor
Background: A prehospital delay from symptom onset to hospital arrival resulted in stroke-related complications or in-hospital deaths in acute stroke patients. We aimed to investigate trends in prehospital visits as a cause of prehospital delay using data from the Korean Health Insurance Service. Methods: This nationwide, population-based, retrospective cohort study included 524,524 newly-diagnosed stroke patients admitted via the emergency departments of secondary and tertiary hospitals. We obtained the prehospital visits rate from 2010 to 2019 and identified the related characteristics. Results: Prehospital visits were observed in 111,465 patients (21.3%). The prehospital visits rate decreased from 25.1% in 2010 to 17.8% in 2019, but the number of patients increased from 11,255 cases in 2010 to 11,747 cases in 2019. Fortunately, the rate of delayed admission for more than one day decreased from 26.7% to 21.3%. However, 10.4% of patients were diagnosed more than two days later. Young, females, or patients with higher income status and living in low urbanization areas exhibited a higher rate of prehospital visits. Conclusions: Prehospital visits in Korean stroke patients decreased from 25.1% in 2010 to 17.8% in 2019. However, more than 10,000 patients still visited other medical institutions before admission to treatment.