A&E stroke admissions up by 30 per cent since 2009

The number of people going to Accident and Emergency following a stroke has increased by over 30 per cent since 2009, according to new estimates from the British Heart Foundation.

In 2008/9 79,373 people went to A&E in England after having a stroke, by 2015/16 this number had increased to 104,426 people - peaking at 126,242 A&E visits in 2014/15. However in Scotland, there has been an increase of around five per cent of people from 2009 to 2016 with a first admission as an emergency with a principal diagnosis of stroke.

Latest figures show that stroke now costs the UK’S healthcare system an estimated £1.93 billion.

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Previous research has estimated costs to the UK around £9bn a year as a society.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF), which is one of the largest independent funders of stroke research in the UK, says these increasing figures are the result of greater awareness of stroke symptoms, meaning that more people who’ve had a stroke make it to A&E.

However, despite this, the number of people dying in the UK after suffering a stroke has remained stubbornly high - with numbers largely unchanged in the last five years. The BHF warns that more research is urgently needed to find better ways to prevent and treat the disease. Only one drug, alteplase, is currently approved to treat stroke in the UK and for some types of stroke there is no proven treatment. A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, causing brain cells to become damaged or die. The two most common types of stroke are ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke. Ischaemic strokes happen when the artery that supplies blood to your brain is blocked, for example by a blood clot. Haemorrhagic strokes happen when a blood vessel bursts and bleeds into your brain.

Professor Sir Nilesh Samani, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, said: “This year in the UK around 40,000 people will die after having had a stroke, whilst 1.2 million people are living with the cruel and debilitating after-effects of this devastating disease.

“Although some exciting new developments have been made in stroke treatment, the options at our disposal for treating stroke patients are still far too limited.”