Research focus

Depression and stroke

Three studies investigate the association between stroke and depression following the Stroke Association findings this year.

More than 100,000 people will have a stroke in the UK each year and two thirds will be discharged from hospital with a disability (Stroke Association 2017). In the UK the incidence of stroke fell by nearly 20% from 1990-2010 (Lackland et al 2014) and this is largely explained by improved interventions aimed at reducing cardiovascular risk factors such as arterial hypertension, diabetes, smoking and cholesterol/dyslipidaemia including increased physical exercise.

Advances in pharmacological management including antidepressant therapy, and technology such as rapid endovascular thrombectomy for acute ischaemic stroke, along with growing expertise, has seen stroke management revolutionised resulting in improved survival rates particularly in specialist centres (Klourfeld et al 2016).

However, it is estimated that 30-60% of patients will experience depressive symptoms following a stroke, which is associated with poorer health outcomes, rehabilitation

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