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Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2010 May 14;8:49. doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-8-49.

The health loss from ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage: evidence from the North East Melbourne Stroke Incidence Study (NEMESIS).

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National Stroke Research Institute, Heidelberg Heights 3081, Vic, Australia.



People suffering different types of stroke have differing demographic characteristics and survival. However, current estimates of disease burden are based on the same underlying assumptions irrespective of stroke type. We hypothesized that average Quality Adjusted Life Years (QALYs) lost from stroke would be different for ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH).


We used 1 and 5-year data collected from patients with first-ever stroke participating in the North East Melbourne Stroke Incidence Study (NEMESIS). We calculated case fatality rates, health-adjusted life expectancy, and quality-of-life (QoL) weights specific to each age and gender category. Lifetime 'health loss' for first-ever ischemic stroke and ICH surviving 28-days for the 2004 Australian population cohort was then estimated. Multivariable uncertainty analyses and sensitivity analyses (SA) were used to assess the impact of varying input parameters e.g. case fatality and QoL weights.


Paired QoL data at 1 and 5 years were available for 237 NEMESIS participants. Extrapolating NEMESIS rates, 31,539 first-ever strokes were expected for Australia in 2004. Average discounted (3%) QALYs lost per first-ever stroke were estimated to be 5.09 (SD 0.20; SA 5.49) for ischemic stroke (n = 27,660) and 6.17 (SD 0.26; SA 6.45) for ICH (n = 4,291; p < 0.001). QALYs lost also differed according to gender for both subtypes (ischemic stroke: males 4.69 SD 0.38, females 5.51 SD 0.46; ICH: males 5.82 SD 0.67, females 6.50 SD 0.40).


People with ICH incurred greater loss of health over a lifetime than people with ischemic stroke. This is explained by greater stroke related case fatality at a younger age, but longer life expectancy with disability after the first 12 months for people with ICH. Thus, studies of disease burden in stroke should account for these differences between subtype and gender. Otherwise, in countries where ICH is more common, health loss for stroke may be underestimated. Similar to other studies of this type, the generalisability of the results may be limited. Sensitivity and uncertainty analyses were used to provide a plausible range of variation for Australia. In countries with demographic and life expectancy characteristics comparable to Australia, our QoL weights may be reasonably applicable.

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