BACKGROUND: Subarachnoid hemorrhage accounts for 2% to 5% of all strokes and is associated with high morbidity and mortality rates. Reports in the literature show that case-fatality rates vary with time and according to geographical area.
OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to evaluate the case-fatality rates in subarachnoid hemorrhage at 1 and 6 months and to determine trends in these rates over 22 years using a population-based registry.
METHODS: The Dijon Stroke Registry has enabled us to perform a comprehensive analysis of subarachnoid hemorrhage diagnosed in a population of >150 000 inhabitants hospitalized between 1985 and 2006 in the Dijon University Hospital, which has both a neurosurgery unit and a neuroradiology unit. Diagnosis was based on clinical and neuroimaging features and, when necessary, on lumbar puncture.
RESULTS: Case-fatality rates for hospitalized subarachnoid hemorrhages at 1 and 6 months were 15.59% (95% confidence interval [CI], 9.37–25.34) and 16.84% (95% CI, 10.33–26.78), respectively. From 1985 to 1995, case-fatality rates for SAH at 1 and 6 months were 17.1% (95% CI, 8.1–34.2) and 17.7% (95% CI, 9.6–31.3), whereas from 1996 to 2006, they were 20.2% (95% CI, 10.2–37.8) and 19.7% (95% CI, 11.1–33.6), respectively.
CONCLUSION: Case-fatality rates for hospitalized subarachnoid hemorrhages in this population-based study remained stable over 22 years, suggesting that this stroke subtype is still a very severe disease despite early management. Most deaths occurred during the first 30 days. Further work is necessary to evaluate levels of prehospital case-fatality in our population-based registry.