The management of acute ischemic stroke has been recognized as a significant medical problem. Stroke remains to be the third leading cause of death and the leading cause of long-term disability; 80% of all strokes are ischemic (a blood clot disrupts blood flow), and the rest are hemorrhagic (a blood vessel ruptures in the brain). Nearly 1 in 15 deaths in 2003 were the result of a stroke.1 Approximately 750,000 new strokes occur annually, of which 250,000 result in the deaths in the United States alone. The latest estimates for stroke costs total to about $30 billion in direct costs, and $20 billion are in indirect costs.2 If nothing is done about this disease, the annual incidence of strokes is expected to reach 1.1 million by the year 2015.

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