The number of people going to Accident and Emergency following a stroke has increased by over 30 per cent since 2009, according to new estimates from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
In 2008/9 79,373 people went to A&E in England after having a stroke, by 2015/16 this number had increased to 104,426 people – peaking at 126,242 A&E visits in 2014/15.
Latest figures show that stroke now costs the UK’S healthcare system an estimated £1.93 billion. Previous research has estimated that stroke costs the UK around £9 billion a year as a society
The BHF, which is one of the largest independent funders of stroke research in the UK, says these increasing figures are the result of greater awareness of stroke symptoms, meaning that more people who’ve had a stroke make it to A&E.
However, despite this, the number of people dying in the UK after suffering a stroke has remained stubbornly high – with numbers remaining largely unchanged in the last five years.
The BHF warns that more research is urgently needed to find better ways to prevent and treat the disease. Only one drug, alteplase, is currently approved to treat stroke in the UK and for some types of stroke there is no proven treatment.
Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, explained, ‘This year in the UK around 40,000 people will die after having had a stroke, whilst 1.2 million people are living with the cruel and debilitating after-effects of this devastating disease.
‘Although some exciting new developments have been made in stroke treatment, the options at our disposal for treating stroke patients are still far too limited.
‘We urgently need to fund more research to better understand what causes a stroke so that we can prevent them occurring and develop new treatments for all types of stroke, in order to save more lives.’