New Study Finds Costs of Bleeding Strokes Increase a Decade Later

According to a new study published this year, the cost of treating strokes caused by bleeding in the brain actually increase ten years after the stroke occurs. Publis
hed in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, the study was conducted in Australia and is the first to analyze ten years worth of follow-up data on estimates of stroke costs. In most cases, the cost of a stroke peaks after the first year and decreases over time. Although prior estimates of these costs in Australia focused on five year averages and might have underestimated the costs, especially for bleeding strokes in particular.

The head of the study, Dominique Cadilhac, Ph.D., noted that “prevention of strokes should be a focus, since the costs of providing care to people who suffer strokes are unlikely to diminish. Much could be gained if we could work to prevent the majority of strokes that are due to modifiable risk factors, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.” Scientists involved in the study researched 243 clot-caused stroke patients and 43 bleeding stroke patients who had survived at least 10 years after their strokes. They had all been involved in a previous Australian study estimating five-year costs of strokes.

Results from the study found that ischemic (clot-caused) stroke treatment costs did not increase or decrease between five to ten years and stayed at roughly $5,207 in U.S. dollars. This was not the case for bleeding stroke costs, which went up 31% between five and ten years, from $5,807 to $7,607. In addition, the lifetime costs for each case of bleeding strokes increased by 25%, from roughly $43,786 to $54,956. Aged-care facilities, informal care, and medication accounted for much of the costs at the 10 year mark. At that point, the costs for treating ischemic strokes decreased.

Both American and Australian healthcare systems are funded by private and public health insurance companies. Although they share this similarity, how healthcare is distributed and priced would change costs between the same kind of service offered, such as a hospital stay. Researchers involved in the study hope their findings will shed light on the importance of preventative measures to aid in stroke treatment, as simple lifestyle changes may reduce the problem altogether. 

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Gary Starkman Dr. Starkman, a top Neurologist in NYC, is the Medical Director and founder of New York Neurology Associates. He is Board Certified in Neurology with a subspecialty certification in Pain Medicine.

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