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Ceylon Med J. 2001 Mar;46(1):19-20.

Stroke subtypes in Sri Lanka--a hospital based study.

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Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya.



Data on stroke subtypes in Sri Lanka are limited, mainly due to the unavailability of brain imaging facilities in most government hospitals. In two leading private hospitals in Colombo, a high proportion of stroke patients have computerised tomography (CT) scanning. Hence we studied stroke patients admitted to these two hospitals to determine the stroke subtypes.


A prospective study of 103 consecutive first ever stroke patients who were under the care of the first author during the period 15 May 1995 to 30 August 1996 were studied. Diagnosis of stroke was made according to the WHO definition, and transient ischaemic attacks (TIA) were not included. The pathological subtype was confirmed by CT scan in 99 patients.


The age of the patients ranged from 37 to 94 years (mean 64.5). 87 patients were over the age of 50 years. The proportion of pathological subtypes confirmed by CT scanning was cerebral infarction (CI) 74.7%, intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) 19.1% and subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH) 62.2%. Of the infarcts 31 (42%) were cortical, 30 (41%) lacunar, 12 (16%) cerebellar and brainstem, and 1 (1.3%) was a border zone infarct.


Direct comparisons with stroke subtypes seen in other countries are not valid due to differences in methodology. In developed countries in the West cerebral infarcts account for about 80% of all first ever strokes and of these 13 to 21% are lacunar strokes. Countries in the East (e.g. Japan and Hong Kong) have reported a higher proportion of haemorrhages (27% of first ever strokes in Hong Kong). In Sri Lanka the proportion of stroke subtypes seem to be intermediate between these countries in the West and East. Lacunar strokes are commoner in Sri Lanka than in other countries.

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