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Hospitalizations for ischemic stroke drop by one-third

Hospitalizations for ischemic stroke fell by a third between 1997 and 2005, according to a recent report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). An ischemic stroke is when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood to the brain. While 54 of every 10,000 Americans aged 45 and older were hospitalized for ischemic stroke in 1997, the ratio dropped to 36 of every 10,000 Americans the same age in 2005. Hospitalizations for hemorrhagic stroke, caused by a ruptured blood vessel that leads to bleeding within the brain, meanwhile, remained relatively steady during the same period, ranging from 9 to 11 for every 10,000 individuals aged 45 and older.

AHRQ's data also found that in 2005:

  • Twenty-five percent of hemorrhagic stroke patients died while hospitalized, compared with 6 percent of those with ischemic stroke.
  • The portion of hospitalized patients transferred to rehabilitation facilities or nursing homes varied by condition: 44 percent of those with ischemic stroke; 37 percent with hemorrhagic stroke; 13 percent with mini-strokes that involve shorter-lasting stroke symptoms but are often precursors to strokes; 5 percent with blocked or narrowed arteries—conditions that can lead to strokes.
  • While stroke occurs most often in older people, 1 in 10 admitted for hemorrhagic stroke was under 45 years of age.

For more information, go to Statistical Brief No. 51: Hospital Stays for Strokes and Other Cerebral Vascular Diseases, 2005, at

The report uses statistics from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample, a database of hospital inpatient stays that is nationally representative of inpatient stays in all short-term, non-Federal hospitals. The data are drawn from hospitals that comprise 90 percent of all discharges in the United States and include all patients, regardless of insurance type, as well as the uninsured.

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