Hospitalizations for acute ischemic stroke in younger people appeared to rise over the past 10 years, but whether stroke prevalence is surging in this group remains unclear, researchers reported.
But population growth alone accounts for 15,000 of those deaths, and changes in diagnostic classification system and coding may account for the increase, according to editorialists and IHPI members James Burke, MD, and Lesli Skolarus, MD, of U-M.
"It is startling that in a country that spends almost 20% of the largest gross domestic product on the planet on healthcare, we cannot say with confidence whether the fifth leading cause of death in the United States is increasing or decreasing in the young," they wrote. "Yet, that is precisely our state of affairs."
Burke and Skolarus wrote that the CDC investigators "should be commended for their effort to help resolve this uncertainty," but noted that questions remain.