A new study published online in Neurology reveals that a stroke can take nearly 3 out of 5 quality years off a person's life despite stroke treatments and prevention to improve quality of life. The researchers say the findings leave considerable room for improvement in stroke treatment. For the study, 748 people who experienced stroke and 440 who had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) were followed for 5 years and given questionnaires that measured quality of life and utility. Participants were compared to an age-matched control group.
The research study determined the 5-year quality-adjusted life years for the participants, which was calculated by multiplying the time spent in a health state by the value assigned to that particular health state. For example, the study found that out of a possible five years of perfect health, people who had a stroke lost 1.71 years due to earlier death and another 1.08 years due to a reduced quality of life, resulting in a reduction of 2.79 quality-adjusted life years.
The results varied significantly depending on severity of the stroke, with those having a minor stroke experiencing 2.06 fewer quality-adjusted life years; moderate, 3.35 years; and severe, 4.3 quality years. People who had TIAs had 1.68 fewer quality-adjusted life years.
Peter M. Rothwell, author of the study, says, "These results highlight the severe toll that stroke takes on millions of people every year." Rothwell adds, "Our study should serve as a wake-up call that we need more funding and research for stroke treatments and secondary stroke prevention measures to improve quality of life in stroke survivors."