Objective: Information on the current burden of stroke in Africa is limited. The aim of this review was to comprehensively examine the current and projected burden of stroke in Africa.
Methods: We systematically reviewed the available literature (PubMed and AJOL) from January 1960 and June 2014 on stroke in Africa. Percentage change in age-adjusted stroke incidence, mortality and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) for African countries between 1990 and 2010 were calculated from the Global Burden of Diseases (GBD) model-derived figures.
Results: Community-based studies revealed an age-standardised annual stroke incidence rate of up to 316 per 100,000 population, and age-standardised prevalence rates of up to 981 per 100,000. Model-based estimates showed significant mean increases in age-standardised stroke incidence. The peculiar factors responsible for the substantial disparities in incidence velocity, ischaemic stroke proportion, mean age and case fatality compared to high-income countries remain unknown.
Conclusions: While the available study data and evidence are limited, the burden of stroke in Africa appears to be increasing.