The economic burden of stroke care in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: Using a national stroke register to estimate and report patient-level health economic outcomes in stroke

Eur Stroke J. 2018 Mar;3(1):82-91. doi: 10.1177/2396987317746516. Epub 2017 Nov 30.

Abstract

Introduction: Stroke registries are used in many settings to measure stroke treatment and outcomes, but rarely include data on health economic outcomes. We aimed to extend the Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme registry of England, Wales and Northern Ireland to derive and report patient-level estimates of the cost of stroke care.

Methods: An individual patient simulation model was built to estimate health and social care costs at one and five years after stroke, and the cost-benefits of thrombolysis and early supported discharge. Costs were stratified according to age, sex, stroke type (ischaemic or primary intracerebral haemorrhage) and stroke severity. The results were illustrated using data on all patients with stroke included in Sentinel Stroke National Audit Programme from April 2015 to March 2016 (n = 84,184).

Results: The total cost of health and social care for patients with acute stroke each year in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was £3.60 billion in the first five years after admission (mean per patient cost: £46,039). There was fivefold variation in the magnitude of costs between patients, ranging from £19,101 to £107,336. Costs increased with older age, increasing stroke severity and intracerebral hemorrhage stroke. Increasing the proportion of eligible patients receiving thrombolysis or early supported discharge was estimated to save health and social care costs by five years after stroke.

Discussion: The cost of stroke care is large and varies widely between patients. Increasing the proportion of eligible patients receiving thrombolysis or early supported discharge could contribute to reducing the financial burden of stroke.

Conclusion: Extending stroke registers to report individualised data on costs may enhance their potential to support quality improvement and research.

Keywords: Cost; health economics; registers; stroke.