Safety and effectiveness of intravenous thrombolysis for acute ischemic stroke outside the coverage of National Health Insurance in Taiwan

Yu Hsiang Su, Huey Juan Lin, Yu Wei Chen, Mei Chiun Tseng, Han Chieh Hsieh, Chih Hung Chen, Sheng Feng Sung

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Purpose: Only a small percentage of ischemic stroke patients were treated with intravenous thrombolysis in Taiwan, partly because of the narrow reimbursement criteria of the National Health Insurance (NHI). We aimed to assess the safety and effectiveness of intravenous thrombolysis not covered by the NHI. Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of register data from four hospitals. All patients who received intravenous tissue plasminogen activator and fulfilled the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) thrombolysis guidelines between January 2007 and June 2012 were distinguished into two groups: those in accordance (reimbursement group) and those not in accordance (non-reimbursement group) with the NHI reimbursement criteria. Primary outcome was symptomatic intracerebral hemorrhage (SICH). Secondary outcomes were dramatic improvement in the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score at discharge, good functional outcome (modified Rankin Scale ≤2) at discharge, and all-cause in-hospital mortality. Results: In 569 guideline-eligible patients, 177 (31%) were treated without reimbursement. The reasons for exclusion from reimbursement included age >80 (n=42), baseline NIHSS <6 (n=29), baseline NIHSS >25 (n=15), thrombolysis beyond 3 hours (n=49), prior stroke with diabetes (n=28), use of oral anticoagulant (n=2), and more than one contraindication (n=12). Overall, we observed no differences between the reimbursement and non-reimbursement groups in the rate of SICH (7% versus 6%), dramatic improvement (36% versus 36%), good functional outcome (39% versus 37%), and in-hospital mortality (8% versus 6%) Conclusion: In stroke patients treated with intravenous thrombolysis according to the AHA/ASA guidelines, the outcomes were comparable between the reimbursement and non-reimbursement groups.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-12
Number of pages10
JournalActa Neurologica Taiwanica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology

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