SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
INTRODUCTION: Stroke is among the top 4 causes of death in South Africa and the top 10 leading causes of disability worldwide. There is a dearth of literature on stroke incidence, prevalence and outcome in sub-Saharan Africa. We aimed to establish the case fatality of stroke patients over a 12-month period post discharge from hospital. METHODS: A total of 200 patients with first-time ischaemic stroke were recruited from Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital and followed up for 12 months. The Barthel Index (BI) and Rivermead Mobility Index (RMI) were used to establish patient functional ability and, by inference, stroke severity. Follow-up assessments were performed at 3, 6 and 12 months post discharge. Data analysis was largely descriptive in nature. RESULTS: Thirty-eight per cent of patients died within the 12 month follow-up period; 25.5% within 3 months of discharge. The average length of hospital stay was 6 days. Low BI scores at discharge were observed in the majority of patients who died. CONCLUSION: The 12-month cumulative mortality was high (highest at the 3-month follow-up). The short hospital stay and poor functional ability of the patients post stroke possibly left them vulnerable to bed-rest complications, such as chest infections and pressure sores.