One in four people who have a stroke will likely die within one year from any cause and 8% who have a stroke will have another one soon, researchers said.
Dr Wuwei Feng of the Medical University of South Carolina, US, and colleagues studied records of 10,399 hospital patients in the state who had a stroke in 2002.
The average age of the patients was 69.
Feng's team found that 25% of people who had a stroke died within a year and 8% had another stroke within a year. They said 50% either died or had another stroke or a heart attack within four years.
Heart attack risk rise by 14%
The risk of heart attack jumped by 14% for every 10-year increase in age the study found.
"We tried to quantify the short-term and long-term risk of recurrent stroke, heart attack and deaths after initial stroke in the whole state," Feng said in a telephone interview.
He said they are not sure of the underlying reasons behind the high risks in South Carolina, in the heart of the US "stroke belt" - a dozen states in the southeast with high stroke rates, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Stroke risk factors
A stroke occurs when a clot blocks the blood supply to the brain or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts.
High blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, smoking and a prior stroke are the biggest risk factors for stroke, the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to the CDC.
"The findings suggest that South Carolina, and possibly other parts of the United States, probably have a long way to go in terms of preventing or reducing the risk factors for recurrent strokes," Feng said.
Feng said a neurological evaluation, proper medication and taking drugs as prescribed can help. But he said more study is needed to come up with an effective approach for preventing stroke.
Stroke will cost the United States about $74 billion in 2010, including the cost of healthcare services, drugs and lost productivity, the CDC estimates. - (JoAnne Allen/Reuters Health, February 2010)
SOURCE: Neurology, February 16, 2010.