Ascertainment of Alaska Native Stroke Incidence, 2005-2009: Lessons for Assessing the Global Burden of Stroke

Bernadette Boden-Albala, James Allen, Eric T. Roberts, Lisa Bulkow, Brian Trimble

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Stroke is a critical public health issue in the United States and globally. System models to optimally capture stroke incidence in rural and culturally diverse communities are needed. The epidemiological transition to a western lifestyle has been associated with an increased burden of vascular risk factors among Alaska Native (AN) people. The burden of stroke in AN communities remains understudied. Methods The Alaska Native Stroke Registry (ANSR) was designed to screen and capture all stroke cases between 2005 and 2009 through its integration into the existing single-payer Alaska Tribal Health System infrastructure. Registry staff received notification each time stroke International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision codes (430-436) were initiated anywhere in the system. Trained chart abstractors reviewed medical records to document incident strokes among AN patients, which were adjudicated. Results Between October 2005 and October 2009, over 2100 alerts were screened identifying 514 unique stroke cases, of which 372 were incident strokes. The average annual incidence of stroke (per 100,000) among AN adults was 190.6: 219.2 in men and 164.7 in women. Overall, the ischemic stroke incidence rate was 148.5 per 100,000 with men (184.6) having higher ischemic rates per 100,000 than women (118.3). Men have higher rates of ischemic stroke at all ages, whereas older women experienced higher rates of hemorrhagic strokes over the age of 75 years. Conclusions We report a high rate of overall stroke, 190.6 per 100,000. The ANSR methods and findings have implications for other indigenous populations and for global health populations currently undergoing similar epidemiological transitions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2019-2026
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • Alaska native
  • Rural Health Services
  • Stroke
  • United States Indian Health Service
  • epidemiology
  • incidence
  • registries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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