Readily accessible comparative data will help to shift the priority of stroke globally –
Global Stroke Statistics in the International Journal of Stroke
The inaugural annual review of country-specific stroke epidemiology in the International Journal of Stroke article ‘Global Stroke Statistics’ uses an extensive literature review with a major focus on published systematic reviews on stroke incidence, and direct acquisition and collation of data from the World Health Organization (WHO) to present the most current estimates of stroke mortality for each country recognized by the WHO.
The paper, authored by some of the world’s most eminent stroke researchers, includes stroke epidemiologist Amanda Thrift, Peter Rothwell, Geoffrey Donnan, Virginia Howard, Dominique Cadilhac and George Howard.
In many countries, stroke is a lower priority than other diseases despite its public health impact, partly due to a lack of readily accessible comparative data to help make the case for the development of national stroke strategies. To assist in this process we need a common repository of the latest published information on the burden of stroke worldwide.
When adjusted to the WHO World standard population, incidence rates for stroke ranged from 41 per 100,000 people per year in Nigeria (1971-74) to 316 per 100,000 people per year in urban Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania). Of the 123 countries reporting mortality data to the WHO, crude mortality was greater in Kazhakstan (in 2003) than any of the other countries reporting mortality data to the WHO. Some countries like Montserrat, Kazhakstan and Albania had very high mortality despite the presence of a relatively young population. Conversely, others, most notably Japan, had a lower crude mortality than expected despite having a relatively older population (approximately 23% were aged ≥65 years). This country-level data is essential for citizens, clinicians and policy makers, so that action can be taken at a local and global level to reduce the overall burden of stroke.