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Hospitalizations from stroke less common than before

Wednesday May 9, 2012
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The rate of hospitalization for stroke decreased between 1999 and 2009 after increasing the decade before, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The rate increased from 32.4 per 10,000 people in 1989 to 34.9 in 1999, then fell to 31.8 by 2009. About 800,000 hospitalizations for stroke occurred in 1989, and almost 1 million in 1999 and 2009.

More than two-thirds of the hospitalizations were in patients ages 65 and older. But the stroke hospitalization rate decreased 20% between 1999 and 2009 for people ages 65 to 74 and those 85 and over, and 24% for those ages 75 to 84.

The average length of stay for stroke patients was similar in 1999 (5.4 days) and 2009 (5.3 days). These lenghts were significantly shorter than the 10.2-day average stay in 1989.

The proportion of stoke patients who died in the hospital decreased from 9% in 1989 to 5% in 2009. Although stroke inpatients made up only about 3% of total hospitalizations, they died at more than twice the rate of other patients in 1989, 1999 and 2009.

"Stroke remains one of the most significant U.S. health problems," wrote the authors of the report, a data brief by the National Center for Health Statistics at the CDC. "Many stroke patients, upon discharge, went to another short-stay hospital or a long-term care institution. In addition, outpatient or in-home services (including rehabilitation) are often provided to those who have had a stroke, to prevent future strokes and to restore functioning."

In 1989, 1999, and 2009, similar proportions of patients hospitalized for stroke were routinely discharged (generally to home), discharged to other short-term hospitals or discharged to long-term care institutions.

"In 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced its 'Million Heartsí campaign [www.millionhearts.hhs.gov], which aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next 5 years," the authors wrote. "Efforts like this are especially important because the baby boomer population is aging into the years when strokes are more common.

"It is important to continue to track the number and rate of stroke hospitalizations, in order to gauge the effects of campaigns like Million Hearts as well as the effectiveness of provisions in healthcare legislation that promote preventive care and coordination of care."


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