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Stroke. 1997 Mar;28(3):491-9.

Comparable studies of the incidence of stroke and its pathological types: results from an international collaboration. International Stroke Incidence Collaboration.

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Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.



Comparing stroke rates in different parts of the world may increase our understanding of both etiology and prevention. However, comparisons are meaningful only if studies use standard definitions and methods, with comparably presented data. We compared the incidence of stroke and its pathological types (cerebral infarction, primary intracerebral hemorrhage, and subarachnoid hemorrhage) in recent studies from around the world.


Studies with a midyear of 1984 or later, fulfilling standard criteria for a comparable, community-based study, provided original data for comparative analyses.


By mid-1995, data were available from 11 studies in Europe, Russia, Australasia, and the United States, comprising approximately 3.5 million person-years and 5575 incident strokes. Age- and sex-standardized annual incidence rates for subjects aged 45 to 84 years were similar (between approximately 300/100,000) and 500/100,000) in most places but were significantly lower in Dijon, France (238/100,000), and higher in Novosibirsk, Russia (627/100,000). In subjects aged 75 to 84 years, however, Novosibirsk no longer ranked higher than the other studies. The distribution of pathological types, when these were reliably distinguished, did not differ significantly between studies.


The similarities in stroke incidence and pathological types are perhaps not surprising given that all the populations were westernized and mainly white. The higher rates in Novosibirsk, disappearing in the elderly, and the lower rates in Dijon have several potential explanations. These include methodological artifact and different patterns of population risk factors. Further work is needed to explore these possibilities and to extend our knowledge of stroke incidence to other parts of the world, especially developing countries.

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