Stroke in a Saudi Arabian National Guard Community: Analysis of 500 Consecutive Cases From a Population-Based Hospital

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Background and Purpose

We sought to determine the crude incidence rate, patterns, and risk factors associated with different types of stroke in a defined Saudi population.


Records of 500 (342 male, 158 female) consecutive patients with first-ever stroke admitted from December 1982 to June 1992 in a hospital that exclusively serves the Saudi Arabian National Guard community were reviewed. Diagnosis was confirmed by brain computed tomography, and the most likely etiology was determined on the basis of relevant clinical, radiological, and laboratory data.


The mean age of the patients was 63 ± 17 years. Males predominated in all types of stroke (P<.001). The crude annual incidence rate was 43.8 per 100 000. Ischemic strokes accounted for 76.2%, and these included 52% with large and 24.2% with lacunar infarctions. Intracerebral hemorrhage was detected in 21.4%, whereas subarachnoid hemorrhage was rare (2.4%). Hypertension (56%), diabetes mellitus (42%), and cardiopathy (33%) were common risk factors. Sixty-one patients (12%) died during the first month after their stroke.


The study suggests that stroke incidence is low in Saudi Arabia compared with industrialized countries, which could be because of the predominance of young age groups. The overall distribution of stroke types was closer to that of Western populations than to the Japanese, in whom hemorrhagic strokes are highly prevalent. However, the high combined frequencies of lacunar infarctions and intracerebral hemorrhages suggest that disease of the small cerebral arteries played a more important role in Saudis than in Western populations. (Stroke. 1993;24:1635-1639.)

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