Danger of stroke: Erlanger Register collects important data

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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How many stroke patients are there and what disabilities can be expected? These numbers are important for health insurers to keep an eye on their costs. In 1994, when the first special stroke wards, “Stroke Units”, were created in hospitals, no one was able to answer questions about stroke patients. “At that time, there were no significant numbers that could reliably answer these questions,” says neurologist Prof. Peter Kolominsky-Rabas, founder and scientific director of the Erlangen Stroke Registry.

11,000 cases documented in 30 years

To find reliable answers, he began collecting initial data together with his superior, Prof. Bernhard Neundörfer, in April 1994. This resulted in the “Erlanger Stroke Register”, which turns 30 this year. Since the registry was founded, a total of 11,000 cases have been documented.

The research team at the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU) states that they continuously collect data from stroke patients in Erlangen. The data serve as a basis for epidemiological calculations on the frequency of strokes in the population, about the course of the disease, care and costs resulting from a stroke. “In Germany, based on epidemiological calculations from the Erlangen Stroke Registry, we have to assume around 270,000 new strokes per year”, explains Prof.

More women than men die from stroke

To date, registration data is collected throughout the entire supply chain, from specialist stroke wards and stroke units, through rehabilitation and long-term care, to primary care. The “costs” of a stroke can now also be calculated: Treatment of a single cerebral infarction it costs around 43,000 euros. Stroke is therefore one of the most expensive diseases for healthcare systems, says Kolominsky-Rabas.

After heart disease and cancer, stroke is the third most common cause of death in Germany, with around 63,000 deaths every year, around 36,000 of them women. The disease is also the most common cause of lifelong disability in adults. This can lead to permanent paralysis, speech and language disorders or urinary and fecal incontinence, which results in high care costs. Added to this is the great physical and emotional strain on family caregivers.

The number of scams will increase

Patients suffering a stroke for the first time are on average 75 years old, says the head of the Erlangen stroke registry. As society ages, the number of new strokes will more than double in the coming decades, says Peter Kolominsky-Rabas. Taking demographic changes into account, experts assume that the number of strokes in Germany will increase by 30 percent by 2040. Collecting reliable data is as important as it was 30 years ago.

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