Background: Stroke is one of the leading causes of death in chronic dialysis patients. However, few epidemiological studies have reported on the demographics and long-term prognosis after stroke.
Methods: We have observed the occurrence of stroke in the chronic dialysis population for the past 10 years in Okinawa, Japan. Definite cases of stroke were registered and categorized as cerebral haemorrhage (CB), cerebral infarction (CI), and subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH).
Results: Among 3741 chronic dialysis patients (2073 men, 1668 women), 271 patients (164 men, 107 women) had strokes (CB 162, CI 97, SAH 12) at least once during the study period from 1 April 1988 to 31 March 1998. The total duration of observation was 15 pound 748.8 patient-years (males 8990.5, females 6758.3). The incidence of stroke per 1000 patient-years was 17.2 overall, 10.3 for CB, 6.2 for CI, and 0.8 for SAH. Twenty-four per cent of stroke cases occurred within 1 year of starting dialysis therapy, and 57.7% occurred within 5 years after the beginning of therapy. The mean (SD) age at onset of stroke was 59.8 (13.0) years overall, 57.2 (12.6) for CB, 65.0 (12.1) for CI, and 53.6 (13.0) years for SAH. The survival rates after stroke were 53.4% at 1 month, 43.5% at 6 months, 35.7% at 12 months, and 23.2% at 60 months. Patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) had higher incidence of CI and a poorer prognosis than those without DM.
Conclusion: Incidence of stroke was high (17.2 per 1000 patient-years) in the dialysis population of our area and the long-term prognosis after stroke was poor.