One Fourth of Stroke Victims Die Within A Year

The study, published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology searched a state hospital discharge database and identified 10,399 people in South Carolina with an average age of 69 who had a stroke in 2002. 

Of the participants, 23 percent were younger than 65 years old at the time of the initial stroke. Eighteen percent went on to have a recurrent stroke within four years. 

The study also included the number of heart attacks or deaths within this time period.   Researchers found 25 percent of people who had a stroke died within one year and eight percent of people had another stroke within one year. The risk for both events rose steadily after one year. 

The cumulative risk at the end of four years, for example, was:  18.1 percent for recurrent stroke, 6.2 percent for heart attack, 41.3 percent for death by any cause,  26.7 percent for vascular death and 52.5 percent for combined events, any recurrent stroke, heart attack or death, whichever occurred first. 

The risk of recurrent stroke was between three and six times higher than the risk of heart attack at different points during the study.  The risk of a recurrent stroke, heart attack or death was higher for African-Americans compared to Caucasians and also increased with age and number of other disorders in addition to stroke itself. 

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance and one of the leading causes of the need for long-term health care.

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