Stroke Is the Leading Cause of Death in Rural Gadchiroli, India: A Prospective Community-Based Study

Stroke. 2015 Jul;46(7):1764-8. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.115.008918. Epub 2015 May 21.


Background and purpose: Stroke is an important cause of death and disability worldwide. However, information on stroke deaths in rural India is scarce. To measure the mortality burden of stroke, we conducted a community-based study in a rural area of Gadchiroli, one of the most backward districts of India.

Methods: We prospectively collected information on all deaths from April 2011 to March 2013 and assigned causes of death using a well-validated verbal autopsy tool in a rural population of 94 154 individuals residing in 86 villages. Two trained physicians independently assigned the cause of death, and the disagreements were resolved by a third physician.

Results: Of 1599 deaths during the study period, 229 (14.3%) deaths were caused by stroke. Stroke was the most frequent cause of death. For those who died because of stroke, the mean age was 67.47±11.8 years and 48.47% were women. Crude stroke mortality rate was 121.6 (95% confidence interval, 106.4-138.4), and age-standardized stroke mortality rate was 191.9 (95% confidence interval, 165.8-221.1) per 100,000 population. Of total stroke deaths, 87.3% stroke deaths occurred at home and 46.3% occurred within the first month from the onset of symptoms.

Conclusions: Stroke is the leading cause of death and accounted for 1 in 7 deaths in this rural community in Gadchiroli. There was high early mortality, and the mortality rate because of stroke was higher than that reported from previous studies from India. Stroke is emerging as a public health priority in rural India.

Keywords: India; mortality; rural population; stroke.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cause of Death / trends*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • India / ethnology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Rural Population / trends*
  • Stroke / diagnosis
  • Stroke / ethnology*
  • Stroke / mortality*