22nd June 2018, Volume 131 Number 1477

Annemarei Ranta

Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide.1 In New Zealand, it has been estimated that around 8–9,000 people have a stroke each year and 50,000 people live…

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While stroke incidence and mortality are declining due to better management strategies, the overall number of stroke sufferers will rise by 40% over the next 10 years to around 12,000 stroke per annum. This is attributable to projected population growth and more importantly ageing of the population. It is imperative that the health sector implements effective stroke prevention and post-stroke intervention strategies to minimise the impact on human suffering and healthcare expenditure.



Stroke incidence and mortality are declining due to effective public health initatives and modern healthcare advances. However, due to population growth and ageing, the burden of stroke continues to rise worldwide. This paper aims to provide stroke volume projections for the next 1–2 decades and explores potential solutions to anticipated challenges.


Health administrative, where available epidemiological, and New Zealand Statistics data was used to model stroke service demand up to 2028.


Despite improvements in stroke prevention and management, stroke volumes are projected to increase by 40% by 2028 due to population growth and, more importantly, ageing. Associated with this increase will be a need for more hospital beds and staff resources.


Efforts to optimise stroke service performance and, increasingly, stroke prevention are required to ensure that the New Zealand Health Service will be able to manage the increased volumes of patients. Better data is required to validate the presented figures, which are largely based on unvalidated health administrative data.

Author Information

Anna Ranta, Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Wellington.


The author would like to acknowledge the contribution of James Greenwell from the Ministry of Health who provided the NMDS data that underpinned this analysis and provided helpful suggestions and Virginia Westerberg who provided a summary of the London Acute Stroke Model that was edited to be included in this paper and prepared Figure 3, but was unavailable to provide input into the overall/final manuscript. Finally, thanks to Ailsa Jacobsen and John Ranta for proof reading the final manuscript.


A/Prof Anna Ranta, Department of Medicine, University of Otago, PO Box 7343, Wellington 6242.

Correspondence Email


Competing Interests



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