Aim: To estimate the cost of treating stroke in the UK.
Methods: A cost-of-illness model was constructed to estimate stroke-related costs over a 5-year period. The cost estimates were based on data from a large, randomised, prospective study comparing alternative strategies of stroke care. The study collected detailed data on resource use in hospital, primary care, healthcare contacts, and utilisation of social services over a period of 1 year following stroke. A Markov framework was used to extrapolate 1-year costs over 5 years.
Results: The model estimated that, for every patient who experiences a stroke, the cost to the NHS in the UK is pound 15306 over 5 years and, when informal care costs are included, the amount increases to pound 29405 (2001/2002 prices). The robustness of the cost findings was explored with the use of sensitivity analysis. This focused on the key variables of rates of recurrent stroke, the estimated acute costs, and costs attached to institution and home care.
Conclusion: As well as being a considerable cause of morbidity and mortality, stroke is also a huge cost burden to both the UK's NHS and the carers of stroke victims.