J Korean Med Assoc.  2009 Apr;52(4):327-333. 10.5124/jkma.2009.52.4.327.

Organization of Stroke Care System: Stroke Unit and Stroke Center

  • 1Department of Neurology, Inha University Medical College, Korea. jhrha@inha.ac.kr


The acute management of ischemic stroke consists of several components: general supportive care, thrombolysis, antithrombotics, prevention of medical and neurologic complications, rehabilitation, and if necessary, surgical intervention. However, for the adequate stroke care, not only the medical treatment but also the proper organization of each stroke care component is essential. This includes public education, well organized emergency medical referral system, pre-hospital identification tool of stroke, operation of stroke unit with quality improvement activity, and establishment of stroke center. The efficacy of stroke unit for the acute management of stroke was found to exceed those of conventional medical treatment such as antiplatelet therapy, and now stroke unit is considered to be the key element of acute stroke care. For the harmonious orchestration of these stroke care elements, there is growing need for the establishment of stroke center too. In this review, each component of stroke care is discussed.


Stroke; Organization; Stroke unit; Stroke center

MeSH Terms

Quality Improvement
Referral and Consultation


  • Figure 1 Network of Stroke Center. Patients can arrive at stroke centers or hospitals either directly or by transfer. Ideally, stroke patients must visit stroke center directly.


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