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Stroke Survivors’ Medical Costs are still High after 10 years

Update Date: Oct 24, 2014 11:09 AM EDT

The costs of medical treatment for stroke survivors can remain high even after 10 years, a new study found. According to researchers from Monash University in Australia, health management can take a financial toll on patients.

In this study, the researchers interviewed 243 patients who suffered from an ischemic stroke and 43 patients who suffered from an intercerebral hemorrhage stroke. An ischemic stroke, which is the most common type of stroke, occurs when blood supply is cut off from the brain due to a blood clot and a hemorrhagic stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is affected by a blood vessel that has burst.

The patients were all 10-year survivors. The interview, which was conducted as a part of the North East Melbourne Stroke Incidence Study, collected information on the patients' health care and personal expenses linked to their stroke.

The researchers calculated that the average yearly cost after a span of 10 years for patients who had an ischemic stroke was around $4530.60 ($5148 AUD). For hemorrhagic stroke patients, the average annual costs after 10 years was much higher at $7949 ($9032 AUD).

"Stroke affects thousands of people and in many cases requires ongoing medical support. We know the condition is costly to treat especially in the first year, but little data existed on the long term healthcare and personal costs, as well as the impact on the workforce, until now," researcher, Professor Dominique Cadilhac, said according to the press release. "We now have a much better picture of the long term costs of stroke. Our research confirms there is no decline in costs beyond 5 years for survivors of stroke, in fact medical and other costs including those incurred by care givers continue for many years."

The team stressed the importance of taking preventive measures, particularly healthy eating and exercise. The study was published in the journal, Stroke.

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