Financial and Societal Significance

Advances in health care policy research have clarified the costs associated with the cerebrovascular diseases. Direct costs include hospital and nursing home care expenditures, physician and other professional service costs, pharmaceutical costs, home health care costs, and the cost of durable medical equipment. Indirect costs include lost productivity from work due to morbidity and mortality. The direct costs of stroke are approximately $30 billion annually, and indirect costs are approximately $20 billion (i.e., $50 billion annually in the United States alone). For Americans aged 40 and older, the average in-hospital and physician costs for stroke were $11,010 based on 1995 data. In 1996, the average cost of a stroke from hospital admission to discharge was $18,244 for people under the age of 65. Table I shows these costs in relationship to other vascular diseases and emphasizes the tremendous financial impact of stroke on society.

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