Strokes are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and the fifth-leading cause of death. According to the CDC, every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. has a stroke, and every 3.5 minutes someone dies of a stroke.
Many factors contribute to the increased risk of stroke, some of which can be eliminated with lifestyle changes. Up to 15% of strokes occur in the hospital, when patients are in for other reasons.
- One in six deaths from cardiovascular disease are caused by stroke
- Nearly 25% of all strokes are in a patient who has had at least one other stroke in the past 5 years
- The leading causes of stroke in the U.S. are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, and diabetes, and one in three Americans has at least one of these factors
- The rate of stroke from 2004 to 2018 increased 11% among American adults, with the rate of those under age 65 increasing more than those 75 and older
- More than 140,000 people die of stroke every year
- Of the over 7 million stroke survivors in the U.S., two-thirds are disabled
Stroke by ethnicity
The rate of first-time strokes for African Americans is almost double that of Non-Hispanic Whites, due to higher rates of high blood pressure (about 33% have HBP), obesity, diabetes, and limited access to healthcare. Blacks also have a higher rate of death from stroke.
The average age for stroke in Hispanics is 67, while the average age for non-Hispanic Whites is 80. This is attributed to a higher rate of obesity among Hispanics (over 70%), diabetes (approximately 30%), and limited access to healthcare.
Factors of in-hospital stroke
Delays in recognizing a stroke in a hospital patient are common, often due to comorbidities, anesthesia, and hospital devices attached that limit movement and make it difficult to notice signs of stroke. It is also very difficult for overworked hospital staff members to monitor each patient as frequently as they would like.
Some of the most common risk factors for in-hospital stroke include recent surgery, existing medical risk factors (HBP, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes), previous stroke, high fever, dehydration, and other physiological stresses. The outcome from an in-hospital stroke can be poor and mortality high, in part due to the delay in diagnosis.
The cost of stroke
Costs vary by location, as well as by the level of care a hospital can offer. This can have a double meaning: hospitals that provide more care may have more financial costs initially but may be able to avoid long-term costs from disability. Hospitals that are unable to provide a high level of care may not have as much financial cost, but the long-term cost to the healthcare system in ongoing care, as well as the human cost to the patient, can be very high indeed.
In 2010, strokes cost $71.55 billion to treat. By 2030, it is estimated the cost will double to $183 billion. This includes the cost of long-term care. It is estimated only 10% of stroke patients fully recover, while 25% experience minor impairments. That leaves 65% with serious impairments, with 10% needing care in long-term healthcare facilities.
A recent impact study by the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania compared stroke patients in their system who had strokes after cardiac surgery. The strokes were severe and the cost of care was very high compared to patients who did not have strokes.
The direct costs for stroke patients were three times more than for non-stroke patients, and total indirect costs for stroke patients were 4.2 times greater than for non-stroke patients. The average total length of stay for stroke patients was 28 days (ranging from 14 to 54, depending on stroke severity) compared to an average of 8 days (ranging from 5 to 17) for non-stroke patients.
How to decrease risk and costs associated with stroke
According to the Stroke Awareness Foundation, 80% of all strokes are preventable. Nearly one-quarter of all strokes occur in those under age 65, and the risk doubles each decade thereafter.
Therefore, steps must be taken involving both the public and hospitals in order to decrease the risk of strokes and the damage that is done when a stroke cannot be avoided.
First, the public needs to be more thoroughly educated on the risk factors associated with stroke and changes in diet and lifestyle. People also need to be fully educated on the first signs of stroke, so that care can be offered as soon as possible, and receive greater access to healthcare.
The difficulty in catching in-hospital strokes as soon as possible before much damage is done is a challenge, due to staff limitations. Neuralert Technologies can fill that gap with its innovative Stroke Detection Monitor, combining a unique, non-invasive wristband technology with a state-of-the-art patented algorithm developed by the University of Pennsylvania to detect asymmetry in arm movement, one of the initial indications of stroke onset.
Because Neuralert’s algorithm is able to rule out other reasons for asymmetry, the frequency of false alerts is extremely low. Your hospital staff will know that when they get an alert from the Neuralert technology, the patient needs immediate attention. These wristbands can also be used in an outpatient setting in order to monitor individuals who are at high risk for stroke.
Contact us to see how your organization can partner with Neuralert to optimize your hospital’s stroke response protocols and overall patient care.