Auckland Regional Community Stroke Study: Measuring the stroke burden in New Zealand, 2020-2021

Please note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this project has been postponed and will not commence until 1 September 2020.

Stroke is the second leading cause of death and disability worldwide. The absolute numbers of people having stroke has increased in New Zealand (NZ) and worldwide mainly due to increasing and ageing populations. Patients with transient ischaemic attack (TIA) are at a high risk of secondary vascular events including major stroke, myocardial infarction (MI), cognitive deficits and death, with population-based studies reporting incidence of adverse outcomes as high as 25% within 90 days. In NZ, there are about 9,000 new strokes and 3,000 new TIAs each year, with direct annual costs estimated at >$650 million to the health sector. Understanding the cost burden of stroke from a societal perspective is essential for resource allocation.

The Auckland Regional Community Stroke Studies (ARCOS) are internationally recognised as ideal population-based registers of stroke incidence and outcomes which have been conducted in NZ every decade since 1981. ARCOS studies have shown that while both stroke incidence and mortality rates had declined over the previous 30 years, the incidence of stroke in NZ continues to be among the highest in developed countries. The ARCOS V study consists of three inter-linked objectives to provide the most recent and up-to-date evidence-base for measuring stroke burden in New Zealand. This will be the fifth ARCOS study in the ARCOS series, with the overarching aim to reliably determine trends in stroke incidence, prevalence and outcomes for a fifth 10-year time point.

Accurate and representative population-based data are also crucial to: (1) determine the true incidence, causes and outcome of stroke; (2) evidence-based health care planning, across the care spectrum; (3) evaluating the need for and impact of preventative/management strategies; (4) address persistent uncertainty about what key factors (socioeconomic & health service) impact stroke recovery in NZ; (5) examine the natural course of recovery, particular for cognitive and behavioural outcomes; (6) provide information on access and satisfaction with stroke services, especially for Māori and Pacific people who are at high risk of stroke and face inequities in health care accessing; and (7) identify service gaps/unmet needs to ensuring evidence-based policy, resource allocation, prevention planning, management services, and evaluation of service performance.