Open Access Open Badges Research article

Temporal trends in hospitalisation for stroke recurrence following incident hospitalisation for stroke in Scotland

James Lewsey1*, Pardeep S Jhund2, Michelle Gillies1, Jim WT Chalmers3, Adam Redpath3, Andrew Briggs1, Matthew Walters4, Peter Langhorne4, Simon Capewell5, John JV McMurray2 and Kate MacIntyre1

Author Affiliations

1 Public Health and Health Policy, University of Glasgow, 1 Lilybank Gardens, Glasgow G12 8RZ, UK

2 BHF Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre, University of Glasgow, 126 University Place, Glasgow G12 8TA, UK

3 Information Services Division, NHS National Services Scotland, Gyle Square, 1 South Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh EH12 9EB, UK

4 Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, University of Glasgow, Gardiner Institute, Western Infirmary, Glasgow G11 6NT, UK

5 Public Health, University of Liverpool, Whelan Building, Quadrangle, Liverpool L69 3GB, UK

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Medicine 2010, 8:23  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-8-23

Published: 9 April 2010



There are few studies that have investigated temporal trends in risk of recurrent stroke. The aim of this study was to examine temporal trends in hospitalisation for stroke recurrence following incident hospitalisation for stroke in Scotland during 1986 to 2001.


Unadjusted survival analysis of time to first event, hospitalisation for recurrent stroke or death, was undertaken using the cumulative incidence method which takes into account competing risks. Regression on cumulative incidence functions was used to model the temporal trends of first recurrent stroke with adjustment for age, sex, socioeconomic status and comorbidity. Complete five year follow-up was obtained for all patients. Restricted cubic splines were used to determine the best fitting relationship between the survival events and study year.


There were 128,511 incident hospitalisations for stroke in Scotland between 1986 and 2001, 57,351 (45%) in men. A total of 13,835 (10.8%) patients had a recurrent hospitalisation for stroke within five years of their incident hospitalisation. Another 74,220 (57.8%) patients died within five years of their incident hospitalisation without first having a recurrent hospitalisation for stroke. Comparing incident stroke hospitalisations in 2001 with 1986, the adjusted risk of recurrent stroke hospitalisation decreased by 27%, HR = 0.73 95% CI (0.67 to 0.78), and the adjusted risk of death being the first event decreased by 28%, HR = 0.72 (0.70 to 0.75).


Over the 15-year period approximately 1 in 10 patients with an incident hospitalisation for stroke in Scotland went on to have a hospitalisation for recurrent stroke within five years. Approximately 6 in 10 patients died within five years without first having a recurrent stroke hospitalisation. Using hospitalisation and death data from an entire country over a 20-year period we have been able to demonstrate not only an improvement in survival following an incident stroke, but also a reduction in the risk of a recurrent event.