Burden of disease
Burden of disease refers to the quantified impact of living with and dying prematurely from a disease or injury and is measured using disability-adjusted life years (DALY). One DALY is equivalent to one year of healthy life lost.
In 2018, stroke accounted for 2.4% of the total burden of disease in Australia and was the 11th leading specific cause of disease burden.
Stroke ranks high in disease burden among older people – for age 85 and over, it accounted for 5.5% of the burden in males and 6.6% of the burden in females.
The total burden of disease due to stroke decreased by 44% between 2003 and 2018, from 7.4 to 4.2 DALY per 1,000 population. This included a 46% decline in the fatal burden and a 19% decline in the non-fatal burden (AIHW 2021a).
See Burden of disease.
In 2018–19, the estimated health system expenditure on stroke was more than $660 million. The greatest cost was for public hospital admitted patient services ($364.2 million) followed by private hospital services ($115.0 million) (AIHW 2021b).
See Health expenditure.
Treatment and management
There were 41,100 presentations to Australian public hospital Emergency Departments with a principal diagnosis of stroke in 2020–21. Of these, 34,000 (83%) were admitted to the hospital to which they presented, 4,400 (11%) were referred to another hospital for admission, and 2,200 (5%) departed without being admitted or referred (AIHW 2022d).
In 2020–21, there were 41,300 acute care hospitalisations with a principal diagnosis of stroke, at a rate of 161 per 100,000 population. Acute care hospitalisation rates were higher among males than females (1.4 times as high), and most hospitalisations (73%) were for people aged 65 and over.
Between 2000–01 and 2020–21, the age-standardised rate of hospitalisation for acute care stroke fell by 23%, from 170 to 130 per 100,000 population.
Stroke rehabilitation helps stroke survivors to relearn and maintain their skills and functioning. It also seeks to protect them from developing new medical problems.
- In 2019–20, stroke patients in hospital rehabilitation care had an average length of stay of 14 days.
- Of a group of 2,800 stroke survivors assessed before hospital discharge in 2019, 64% were referred for further rehabilitation in the community (Stroke Foundation 2020).
Variation between population groups
The impact of stroke varies between population groups, with age-standardised rates higher among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than among non-Indigenous Australians for both hospitalisation (1.7 times as high) and death (1.8 times as high) (Figure 3).
Age-standardised death rates and burden of disease were 1.1 and 1.2 times as high in Remote and very remote areas as in Major cities. The rate of death for stroke was 1.4 times as high in the lowest socioeconomic areas as in the highest.