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Cerebrovasc Dis. 2003;16(4):410-7.

A prospective community-based study of stroke in Southern Italy: the Vibo Valentia incidence of stroke study (VISS). Methodology, incidence and case fatality at 28 days, 3 and 12 months.

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Institute of Neurosciences, Italian National Research Council, Florence, Italy.



Data on stroke morbidity are lacking in southern Italy, an area with about 20 million inhabitants and a mean income lower than the rest of the country. Therefore a population-based stroke register was established to determine incidence and case fatality in the Province of Vibo Valentia, Calabria.


The survey was conducted among the 179186 residents. Standard definitions and multiple case-finding procedures were employed. All identified cases of first-ever stroke were followed at 28 days, 3 and 12 months. The registration started on January 1, 1996, and ended on December 31, 1996.


A total of 321 first-ever-in-a-lifetime strokes were identified. The crude annual incidence rate was 1.79 (95% CI 1.60-1.99) per 1000 inhabitants. Rates age-standardized to the 1996 Italian population and to the standard European population were, respectively, 1.99 (95% CI 1.79-2.20) and 1.36 (95% CI 1.19-1.53) per 1000 inhabitants. A subtype diagnosis was reached in 96% of patients. The crude annual incidence rates per 1000 inhabitants were 1.31 for cerebral infarction, 0.35 for intracerebral hemorrhage, 0.06 for subarachnoid hemorrhage, and 0.07 for unspecified stroke. Overall case fatality was 23.7% at 28 days, 27.4% at 3 months and 40.2% at 12 months.


This is the first prospective population-based stroke register established in southern Italy. Incidence and case fatality were comparable to those previously reported in northern and central Italy and other industrialized countries. Our estimates are useful for developing management services and allocating resources.

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