To investigate the clinical characteristics of patients with ischemic stroke following the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake.
We retrospectively studied patients with ischemic stroke admitted to 5 stroke centers for 1 year after the earthquake. We compared clinical characteristics in these patients (the post-earthquake group) to those in the patients with ischemic stroke admitted during the same period from the previous 3 years (the pre-earthquake group). Additionally, we analyzed the trend of the incidence rate of stroke before and after the earthquake.
A total of 1979 patients were admitted after the earthquake; 5670 (1,890/year on average) patients were admitted before the earthquake. A first-ever ischemic stroke (71 vs. 75%) and premorbid modified Rankin Scale > 1 (26 vs. 29%) were found significantly more frequently in patients after the earthquake. National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score ≤ 2 at discharge (60 vs. 65%) was found more frequently in patients after the earthquake, although non-discharge to home (65 vs. 70%) was more frequent in patients after the earthquake. Trend analysis revealed a decrease of small vessel occlusion and large artery atherosclerosis in the month after the earthquake.
The 2016 Kumamoto earthquake may have affected the characteristics of stroke during the early phase of the earthquake and increased the difficulty in returning home.