Registration of all hospitalized stroke patients is practiced in Sweden in order to assess care quality. Data in this register, Riks-Stroke (RS), may be biased due to incomplete registration. The purpose of this paper was to report changes in stroke outcome in relation to fluctuations in registration. Patients registered in RS at a hospital during the period 1994-2005 were analyzed. Case fatality at 28 days, living conditions, and activities of daily living (ADL) performance at 3 months were correlated to the number of patients registered and follow-up frequency. A total of 4994 stroke cases were registered during the period. A high annual registration rate was significantly correlated to a high case fatality ratio. A low annual follow-up rate was associated with a low proportion of patients living in their own home without any need of help. Quality parameters are sensible for selection bias, which make them difficult to compare over time and between hospitals. We suggest that by weighing outcome data against stroke severity, safer conclusions may be drawn. Additionally, hospitals considering setting up quality registers should make every effort to attain complete case ascertainment at all times, including patients managed outside the hospital, in order to avoid selection bias.