Burden of Stroke and Population-Attributable Fractions of Risk Factors in Latin America and the Caribbean

Kevin Pacheco-Barrios, Stefano Giannoni-Luza, Alba Navarro-Flores, Ingrid Rebello-Sanchez, Joao Parente, Ana Balbuena, Paulo S. de Melo, Ricardo Otiniano-Sifuentes, Oscar Rivera-Torrejón, Carlos Abanto, Carlos Alva-Diaz, Patricia L. Musolino, Felipe Fregni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Stroke burden characterization studies in low-and middle-income countries are scarce. We estimated the burden of stroke and its risk factors in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). METHODS AND RESULTS: We extracted GBD (Global Burden of Disease) study 2019 data on overall stroke and 3 subtypes (ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, and subarachnoid hemorrhage) for 20 LAC countries. We estimated absolute and age-standardized rates of disability-adjusted life years, years of life lost, years lived with disability, and deaths. The population-attributable fractions of 17 risk factors were estimated. All analyses were performed at regional and national levels by stroke subtype, sex, and age subgroups. In 2019, the LAC region had the fourth largest stroke burden worldwide (6.8 million disability-adjusted life years), predominantly attributable to premature deaths (89.5% of disability-adjusted life years). Intracerebral hemorrhage was the primary cause of the overall stroke burden (42% of disability-adjusted life years), but ischemic stroke was the leading cause of disability (69% of total years lived with disability). Haiti and Honduras had the highest age-standardized rates. Older adults and men had the largest burdens, although women had the highest rate of disability. Socioeconomic development level did not influence the burden. The major risk factor clusters were metabolic (high systolic blood pressure [population-attributable fraction=53%] and high body mass index [population-attributable fraction=37%]), which were more influential in hemorrhagic events, women, and older adults. Household air pollution was an important risk factor in low-income countries in LAC. CONCLUSIONS: The stroke burden and stroke-related mortality in LAC are higher than the worldwide averages. However, stroke is a highly preventable disease in this region. Up to 90% of the burden could be reduced by targeting 2 modifiable factors: blood pressure and body mass index. Further research and implementation of primary and secondary prevention interventions are needed, as well as integrated national stroke care programs for acute, subacute, and rehabilitation management in LAC.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere027044
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • GBD (Global Burden of Disease) study
  • risk factors
  • stroke


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