Survival After Stroke and Transient Ischemic Attacks During the 1970s and 1980s

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Survival after stroke and transient ischemic attack was studied in Soderhamn, Sweden, during the periods 1975–1979 and 1983–1987; 640 patients with first-ever stroke and 97 with first-ever transient ischemic attack were registered and followed for 1–3 years. Approximately 90% of the patients were treated in the Department of Internal Medicine of Soderhamn Hospital. The protocols for physical rehabilitation and antithrombotic treatment changed between study periods. Between periods, 3-year survival after stroke increased by 16% (p < 0.003). The 95% confidence intervals of the relative survival rates were 0.524–0.648, 0.435–0.567, and 0.337- 0.475 at 1, 2, and 3 years, respectively, during the first period and 0.616–0.728, 0.600–0.732, and 0.576–0.748 during the second period. Fewer patients suffered fatal complications of stroke during the second period. The rate of stroke recurrence was approximately 10%/year during both study periods. Four patients suffered fatal hemorrhages during the first period, but no patient did so during the second period. Observed survival after transient ischemic attack did not differ from that expected in the first 2 years of follow-up during either study period. The risk for stroke after transient ischemic attack was approximately 5%/year during both periods. The higher survival rates after stroke during the second period seems to be the result of fewer fatal complications rather than of a reduced risk for recurrent stroke. (Stroke 1989;20:1320–1326)

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