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OBJECTIVES: To compare hospital treatments for major stroke types in Chinese adults by stroke pathological types, sex, age, calendar year, hospital tier, region and other factors. DESIGN: Cross-sectional analysis of medical records retrieved from 20 229 stroke cases in the China Kadoorie Biobank. SETTING: Ten diverse areas (five urban, five rural) in China. PARTICIPANTS: First-incident stroke cases who were recruited during an 11-year follow-up of 0.5M participants in the China Kadoorie Biobank. METHODS: Electronic copies of medical records of stroke cases were retrieved for clinical adjudication by local neurologists. Stroke cases were classified as ischaemic stroke (IS) (including lacunar infarction (LACI) and non-LACI (non-LACI)), intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH), subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) and unspecified stroke types. RESULTS: Among 20 299 first-ever stroke cases, 17 306 (85%) had IS, 7123 had non-LACI, 6690 had LACI, 3493 had silent LACI, 2623 (13%) had ICH and 370 (2%) had SAH. Among IS cases, antiplatelet treatment was used by 64% (65% non-LACI, 66% LACI, 56% silent LACI), lipid-lowering by 50% (52% non-LACI, 53% LACI, 43% silent LACI) and blood pressure-lowering by ~42% of all IS types, with positive trends in the use of these treatments by calendar year and hospital tier. Among ICH cases, 53% used blood pressure-lowering and 10% used lipid-lowering treatments, respectively. In contrast, traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) were used by 59% of IS (50% non-LACI, 62% LACI, 74% silent LACI), 38% of ICH and 30% of SAH cases, with positive trends by calendar year and by hospital tier. CONCLUSIONS: Among IS cases, use of antiplatelet and lipid-lowering medications increased in recent years, but use of TCM still exceeded use of blood pressure-lowering treatment. In contrast, blood pressure-lowering treatment was widely used for ICH, but only half of all ICH cases used blood pressure-lowering treatment.

Original publication




Journal article


BMJ Open

Publication Date





epidemiology, health policy, herbal medicine, neurology, stroke medicine, Adult, Brain Ischemia, Cerebral Hemorrhage, China, Cross-Sectional Studies, Hospitals, Humans, Risk Factors, Stroke