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Abstract of the day: 20-year trends in ischaemic stroke and mortality – are rates falling?

It is well known that rates of ischaemic heart disease and its associated mortality have been declining for many years. However, less is known about patterns related to ischaemic stroke. Given the increasingly elderly population in many countries, large-scale studies are required to provide much-needed data.

Diseases of the Aorta, Peripheral Vascular Disease, Stroke

Available today is a ‘Best ePoster’ from Ms. Adelina Yafasova (Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark) and collaborators who investigated trends in the incidence and mortality rates of first-time ischaemic stroke over a 20-year period in Denmark.

In this observational cohort study, 224,617 adults who were admitted to hospital with a first-time ischaemic stroke between 1996 and 2016 were identified from Danish nationwide registries. From an initial age-standardised incidence rate of 2.70 per 1,000 person-years (95% confidence interval [CI] 2.65–2.76) in 1996, the incidence increased over the next 6 years, reaching a peak of 3.25 (95% CI 3.20–3.31) in 2002. From there the incidence gradually fell over the next 14 years to its lowest level of 1.99 (95% CI 1.95–2.02) per 1,000 person-years in 2016. Incidence rates were generally higher in men than in women, except among patients aged 18–34 years and ≥85 years.

Absolute mortality rates showed a different pattern to incidence rates, with a reduction over the entire 20-year period. The 30-day mortality rate more than halved, falling from 17.1% in 1996 to 7.6% in 2016 and the corresponding 1-year mortality rates were 30.9% and 17.3%. Mortality rates among patients aged 55–64 years and ≥85 years were higher in women than in men.

It is likely that the trends observed in the incidence and mortality rate patterns reflect the increased awareness of ischaemic stroke prevention and the introduction of new management options over the 20-year study period.


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The content of this article reflects the personal opinion of the author/s and is not necessarily the official position of the European Society of Cardiology.