Two Decades of Stroke in the United States: A Healthcare Economic Perspective

Alexis Lorio, Carlos Garcia-Rodriguez, Ali Seifi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Stroke is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the USA and has implications on the financial health of patients, families, and healthcare systems. The objective of this study aimed to determine the economic perspective of stroke on the national healthcare system for the past 2 decades. Methods: This retrospective study of inpatient subjects from 2000 to 2020 with stroke was collected from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP). We queried patients admitted primarily for ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke. Patients were evaluated for demographics, length of stay (LOS), mortality, and hospital charges. Statistical Z-testing with a significance of p < 0.05 was conducted for the analysis. Results: During the study period, 12,158,747 stroke subjects were studied, with 51.9% female and a mean age of 70.08 (±0.16) years old. The mean rate of stroke discharges per 100,000 persons was 187.71 (±3.44), decreasing from 200 to 193 during the study (p = 0.16). The mean percentage of deaths was 8.78% (±0.17), which decreased from 10.96% to 6.81% (p = 0.00). The mean LOS was 6.28 days (±0.08), which increased from 6.70 to 7.15 (p = 0.00). During the study period, the aggregated national bill was USD 725 billion. The mean hospital charges per patient were USD 57,178 (±1,504), increasing from USD 19,647 to USD 121,765 per person during the study period (p = 0.00), while mean hospital costs per stay were USD 15,781 (±330). These data closely conform to an exponential growth pattern, and forecasting per patient charges for the next 10 years demonstrates a cost of USD 287,836 by 2030. Conclusions: Our data show that the rate and mortality of stroke have decreased, but its charges and costs are increasing. The improvement in outcomes could be multifactorial such as establishment of comprehensive stroke centers and evolving treatment modalities. Ironically, the charges per patient increased more than sixfold with a national bill almost equal to the annual Medicare budget. Thus, the significance of preventive medicine, such as controlling hypertension, diabetes, and smoking cessation, cannot be understated. With such a dramatically increasing financial burden, improvements in mitigating risk factors, educational programs, and access to care may be a more cost-effective option.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-150
Number of pages8
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 23 2024


  • Acute cerebral infarction
  • Cerebrovascular disease
  • Healthcare economics
  • Hemorrhagic stroke
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Neurocritical care
  • Neuroepidemiology
  • Stroke

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Clinical Neurology


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