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Stroke. 2005 Jul;36(7):1388-93. Epub 2005 Jun 9.

Stroke presentation and outcome in developing countries: a prospective study in the Gambia.

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  • 1Medical Research Council Laboratories, Fajara, Gambia.



Despite increasing burden of stroke in Africa, prospective descriptive data are rare. Our objective was to describe, in The Gambia, the clinical outcome of stroke patients admitted to the Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital in the capital Banjul, to assess mortality and morbidity, and propose preventive and therapeutic measures.


Prospective data were collected on consecutive patients older than 15 years old admitted between February 2000 and February 2001 with the diagnosis of nonsubarachnoid stroke. Risk factors, clinical characteristics, and social consequences were assessed using a modified National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (mNIHSS), the Barthel Activity in Daily Living scale, the Siriraj score for subtypes, and the Bamford criteria for location/extension. Patients were followed-up at home up to 1 year after discharge.


Ninety-one percent (148/162) of eligible patients were enrolled and followed-up. Hypertension and smoking were the most prevalent risk factors. Severity was high at admission, especially in women, and was strongly correlated to the outcome. mNIHSS and consciousness level on admission were strong predictors of the mortality risk. Swallowing difficulties at admission, fever, lung infection, and no aspirin treatment were, independently, risk factors for a lethal outcome susceptible to being addressed by treatment. Mortality was 41% in-hospital and 62% after 1 year. In survivors, autonomy levels improved over time. Drug compliance was poor. At home, family members provided care. Long-term socioeconomic and cultural activities were affected in most patients.


Case-fatality was high compared with Western cohorts. Preventive measures can be developed. Rational treatment, in the absence of head imaging for initial assessment, requires adapted protocols. Providers should be trained, both at hospital and community levels.

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