Understanding stroke

Stroke outcomes

The first cause of adult acquired disabilities

Despite sustained efforts worldwide to reduce cardiovascular diseases incidence and morbi-mortality, stroke or cerebral infarction remains the first cause of adult acquired disabilities and the third cause of death in industrialized countries. There is presently no effective treatment that can be safely used on most patients.

Each year, around one million patients in Europe experience a stroke and approximately 800,000 in the USA (one every 40 seconds). Worldwide, it is 15 million people who suffer stroke each year, and of these, 6 million die.

Stroke is a cardiovascular disease and is positively impacted by cardiovascular risk prevention. However the aging of the population largely compensates this and the number of stroke occurrence is still increasing in some age groups possibly due to changes of living habits.

Stroke outcomes are disastrous

  • Death: stroke is the 3rd cause of death in wealthy countries.
  • Handicaps: stroke is the first cause of serious long-term disability and the first cause of adult acquired handicap globally, and notably the 2nd cause of dementia after Alzheimer disease.

A major economic impact

In addition to being a major public health issue, stroke has a major economic impact. For instance in 2010 stroke-related medical costs and disability cost about 34 billion dollars to the USA. In the EU countries, the total annual cost of stroke is estimated at 38 billion euros, including the value of informal care. An international comparison of stroke cost studies showed that, on average, 0.27% of gross domestic product was spent on stroke by national health systems, and stroke care accounted for ∼3% of total health care expenditures.

Annually, 15 million first-ever strokes occur in the world, causing a total of 6 million deaths.