ObjectiveTo determine what the trends in stroke mortality have been over 2 decades in young adults.
MethodsIn this cohort study, we analyzed death certificate data for ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke (intracerebral hemorrhage [ICH] and subarachnoid hemorrhage [SAH]) in adults aged 20-44 in the United States for 1989 through 2009, covering approximately 2.2 billion person-years. Poisson regression was used to calculate and compare time trend data between groups and to compare trends in young adults to those in adults over age 45.
ResultsMortality from stroke in young adults declined by 35% over the study period, with reductions in all 3 stroke subtypes (ischemic stroke decreased by 15%, ICH by 47%, and SAH by 50%). Black race was a risk factor for all 3 stroke subtypes (relative risk 2.4 for ischemic stroke, 4.0 for ICH, and 2.1 for SAH), but declines in all stroke subtypes were more dramatic in black compared to white participants (p < 0.001 for all stroke subtypes).
ConclusionsAlthough hospitalizations for stroke in young patients have been increasing, the apparent decrease in mortality rates and in racial disparities suggests that recognition and treatment in this group may be improving.