A literature review of indirect costs associated with stroke

J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2014 Aug;23(7):1753-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2014.02.017. Epub 2014 Jun 21.


Background: Stroke is a leading cause of mortality and long-term disability. However, the indirect costs of stroke, such as productivity loss and costs of informal care, have not been well studied. To better understand this, we conducted a literature review of the indirect costs of stroke.

Methods: A literature search using PubMed, MEDLINE, and EconLit, with the key words stroke, cerebrovascular disease, subarachnoid hemorrhage, intracerebral hemorrhage, cost-of-illness, productivity loss, indirect cost, economic burden, and informal caregiving was conducted. We identified original research articles published during 1990-2012 in English-language peer-reviewed journals. We summarized indirect costs by study type, cost categories, and study settings.

Results: We found 31 original research articles that investigated the indirect cost of stroke. Six of these investigated indirect costs only; the other 25 studies were cost-of-illness studies that included indirect costs as a component. Of the 31 articles, 6 examined indirect costs in the United States, with 2 of these focused solely on indirect costs. Because of diverse methods, kinds of data, and definitions of cost used in the studies, the literature indicated a very wide range internationally in the proportion of the total cost of stroke that is represented by indirect costs (from 3% to 71%).

Conclusions: Most of the literature indicates that indirect costs account for a significant portion of the economic burden of stroke, and there is a pressing need to develop proper approaches to analyze these costs and to make better use of relevant data sources for such studies or establish new ones.

Keywords: Stroke; cost of informal care; economic burden; indirect cost; productivity loss.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Stroke / economics*
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Stroke / therapy