New research shows big improvement in survival after stroke

Dec 11, 2006

A new research report by The George Institute for International Health, in collaboration with Auckland City Hospital and The University of Auckland, has revealed a 40% decline in the number of deaths after stroke in the total population of Auckland, New Zealand over the past 25 years. The study attributes the improved survival rate to health care factors associated with an increase in hospital admission and brain imaging during the most severe phase of the illness.

Stroke affects annually around 17 million people globally and is widely recognised as one of the biggest killers in both Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand, over 7,600 strokes occur each year, while over 53,000 strokes take place in Australia per annum. However, research into stroke rates has shown a steady decline in stroke in many industrialised countries over recent decades, most notably in Caucasian populations, whilst Maori and Pacific populations in New Zealand have experienced a rise in stroke rates. Even with declines in the rate of stroke, the number of strokes occurring is expected to rise, with the ageing of the population and improved survival.

In three separate studies between 1981 and 2003, researchers investigated the rate of short and medium-term survival after stroke and found that the probability of survival increased from 1981, especially in the 28-day period following a stroke. According to Principal Investigator, Professor Craig Anderson, Director of the Neurological and Mental Health Division at The George Institute, the rate of hospitalisation, brain imaging (CT or MRI scans) and medical attention have all increased dramatically over the period. "In 1981, 64% of patients were admitted to hospital and 13% would have brain imaging. In 2003, 92% of patients were being admitted to hospital with 90% receiving scans. This improved level of stroke care has directly benefited stroke sufferers across New Zealand."

However, as the death rate declines, there has been a significant increase in the number of patients with an impaired level of consciousness and motor deficits following stroke. Dr Kristie Carter, Research Fellow for the study noted that, "We found that a person’s level of consciousness at the time of stroke, age and history of pre-morbid dependency, were strong predictors of survival".

"The increased number of stroke survivors in New Zealand is a positive outcome, showing more knowledge of the condition and how to treat it," says Associate Professor Valery Feigin of The University of Auckland’s Clinical Trials Research Unit. "However, this also puts an additional burden on resources, both family and community. More needs to be done in preventing strokes and implementing evidence-based management and rehabilitation strategies (for example, Acute Stroke Units). In addition, there needs to be increased awareness of the condition and how to reduce risk factors that can lead to strokes, such as elevated blood pressure, smoking, poor diet etc. Only through this can we reduce the incidence of stroke and ultimately improve stroke outcome."

Source: Research Australia

Explore further: Researchers "smell" new receptors that could underlie the many actions of the anesthetic drug ketamine

Related Stories

Nano-antioxidants prove their potential

Feb 09, 2015

Injectable nanoparticles that could protect an injured person from further damage due to oxidative stress have proven to be astoundingly effective in tests to study their mechanism.

Earth's moon may not be critical to life

Jan 27, 2015

The Moon has long been viewed as a crucial component in creating an environment suitable for the evolution of complex life on Earth, but a number of scientific results in recent years have shown that perhaps our ...

Johnson & Johnson tops 4Q earnings expectations

Jan 20, 2015

The strong dollar and stiff competition for some products squeezed Johnson & Johnson in the fourth quarter and it missed Wall Street expectations for revenue, triggering a rare sell-off of its shares.

Heart arrhythmias detected in deep-diving marine mammals

Jan 16, 2015

A new study of dolphins and seals shows that despite their remarkable adaptations to aquatic life, exercising while holding their breath remains a physiological challenge for marine mammals. The study, published ...

Recommended for you

Computer model predicts how our livers will store fat

5 hours ago

As part of an effort to understand how an experimental drug for atherosclerosis causes the build-up of fat in the liver, scientists have developed a computer model that can predict how the rate at which liver stores fat in ...

Researchers identify "beige" fat-burning cells in humans

13 hours ago

For the first time, a research team, led by a UC San Francisco biologist, has isolated energy-burning "beige" fat from adult humans, which is known to be able to convert unhealthy white fat into healthy brown ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.