Background and purpose: Stroke imposes a substantial economic burden on individuals and society. This study estimates the lifetime direct and indirect costs associated with the three major types of stroke: subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), and ischemic stroke (ISC).
Methods: We developed a model of the lifetime cost of incident strokes occurring in 1990. An epidemiological model of stroke incidence, survival, and recurrence was developed based on a review of the literature. Data on direct cost of treating stroke were obtained from Medicare claims data, the 1987 National Medical Expenditure Survey (NMES), and insurance claims data representing a group of large, self-insured employers. Indirect costs (the value of foregone market and nonmarket production) associated with premature morbidity and mortality were estimated based on data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis and the 1987 NMES.
Results: The lifetime cost per person of first strokes occurring in 1990 is estimated to be $228,030 for SAH, $123,565 for ICH, $90,981 for ISC, and $103,576 averaged across all stroke sub-types. Indirect costs accounted for 58.0% of lifetime costs. Aggregate lifetime cost associated with an estimated 392,344 first strokes in 1990 was $40.6 billion: $5.6 billion for SAH, $6.0 billion for ICH, and $29.0 billion for ISC. Acute-care costs incurred in the 2 years following a first stroke accounted for 45.0%, long-term ambulatory care accounted for 35.0%, and nursing home costs accounted for 17.5% of aggregate lifetime costs of stroke.
Conclusions: The lifetime cost of stroke varies considerably by type of stroke and entails considerable costs beyond the first 2 years after a stroke.