Stroke could cause nearly 10 million deaths annually by 2050: Lancet study

New Delhi: The number of people who die from stroke globally is estimated to increase by 50 per cent by 2050 to 9.7 million per year, with annual costs possibly as high as USD 2.3 trillion, unless urgent action is taken, according to a new study published in the Lancet Neurology journal.

The analysis forecasts growing health and economic impacts from stroke between 2020 and 2050, which will disproportionately affect lower and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Based on a review of evidence-based guidelines, recent surveys, and in-depth interviews with stroke experts around the world, the authors make evidence-based pragmatic recommendations to reduce the global burden, including measures to improve stroke surveillance, prevention, acute care, and rehabilitation.

The report published in Lancet Neurology journal said that stroke deaths are expected to surge from 6.6 million in 2020 to 9.7 million by 2050.

The report has emphasised the critical role of evidence-based, pragmatic solutions in combating the crisis and made 12 recommendations to counter the deaths related to strokes. Among them are stroke surveillance, prevention, acute care, and rehabilitation.

The report recommended establishing cost-effective surveillance systems for precise epidemiological stroke data to guide prevention and treatment.

It also suggested elevating public awareness and fostering healthier lifestyles through widespread utilisation of mobile and digital technologies, including training and awareness.

It also stressed prioritising meticulous planning of acute stroke care services, capacity building, training, provisioning of appropriate equipment, treatment, affordable medicines, and allocating adequate resources.

Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) Dr Rajiv Bahl said evidence-based stroke care needed to be implemented to mitigate disability and prevent new strokes.

ICMR is actively engaged in crafting country-specific ambulatory care models at the primary care level to combat non-communicable diseases, he said.

“The Government of India is committed towards formulating evidence-based policies and their implementation through the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NP-NCD),” he added.

A notable success is the India Hypertension Control Initiative (IHCI), which employed tech-driven innovations to digitally monitor over two million patients, achieving real-time blood pressure control in 50 per cent of cases, Bahl said.

Professor Jeyaraj Pandian, President-Elect of the World Stroke Organization and a lead author of the commission, shared that there is a need to scrutinise the factors driving the increase in deaths due to stroke.

Dr Ivy Sebastian, Neurologist and Stroke Fellow in Calgary, Canada, and the lead author of the paper on “Stroke Systems of Care in Southeast Asia,” called for timely interventions such as intravenous thrombolysis, thrombectomy, and stroke unit care delivered through stroke-ready centres.

Dr Yogeshwar Kalkonde, the lead author of the paper “Stroke Surveillance in Southeast Asia”, stated that India’s National Stroke Registry Programme and Thailand’s national database can serve as valuable sources for epidemiological data on strokes.