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Objective: To estimate the incidence, survival, and lifetime risk of stroke in the elderly population.
Methods: The authors conducted a study in 7721 participants from the population based Rotterdam Study who were free from stroke at baseline (1990–1993) and were followed up for stroke until 1 January 1999. Age and sex specific incidence, case fatality rates, and lifetime risks of stroke were calculated.
Results: Mean follow up was 6.0 years and 432 strokes occurred. The incidence rate of stroke per 1000 person years increased with age and ranged from 1.7 (95% CI 0.4 to 6.6) in men aged 55 to 59 years to 69.8 (95% CI 22.5 to 216.6) in men aged 95 years or over. Corresponding figures for women were 1.2 (95% CI 0.3 to 4.7) and 33.1 (95% CI 17.8 to 61.6). Men and women had similar absolute lifetime risks of stroke (21% for those aged 55 years). The survival after stroke did not differ according to sex.
Conclusions: Stroke incidence increases with age, also in the very old. Although the incidence rate is higher in men than in women over the entire age range, the lifetime risks were similar for both sexes.