Background: Studying stroke rates in a whole community is a rational way to assess the quality of patient care and primary prevention. However, there are few studies of trends in stroke rates worldwide and none in Brazil.
Objective: We used established study methods to define the rates for first-ever stroke in a defined population in Brazil and compare it with similar data obtained and published in 1995.
Methods: We prospectively ascertained all stroke cases occurring in the city of Joinville during 2005-2006. We determined crude incidence and mortality rates, and calculated age-adjusted rates and 30-day case-fatality and compared these results with the 1995 data.
Results: Of the 1323 stroke cases registered, 759 were first-ever strokes. The incidence rate per 100 000 was 105.4 (95% CI, 98.0-113.2), mortality rate was 23.9 (95% CI, 20.4-27.8) and the 30-day case-fatality was 19.1%. Compared with 1995 data, we found that incidence had decreased by 27%, mortality decreased by 37% and the 30-day case-fatality decreased by 28%.
Conclusions: Using defined criteria we showed that in an industrial Southern Brazilian city stroke rates are similar to those from developed countries. We also found a significant decrease in stroke rates over last decade, suggesting an improvement in primary prevention and inpatient care of stroke patients in Joinville.