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Publication date: 
November 29, 2021


Understanding the temporal trend of the disease burden of stroke and its attributable risk factors in China, especially at provincial levels, is important for effective prevention strategies and improvement. The aim of this analysis from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study (GBD) is to investigate the disease burden of stroke and its risk factors at national and provincial levels in China from 1990 to 2019.


Following the methodology in the GBD 2019, the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) of stroke cases in the Chinese population were estimated by sex, age, year, stroke subtypes (ischaemic stroke, intracerebral haemorrhage, and subarachnoid haemorrhage), and across 33 provincial administrative units in China from 1990 to 2019. Attributable mortality and DALYs of underlying risk factors were calculated by a comparative risk assessment.


In 2019, there were 3·94 million (95% uncertainty interval 3·43–4·58) new stroke cases in China. The incidence rate of stroke increased by 86·0% (73·2–99·0) from 1990, reaching 276·7 (241·3–322·0) per 100 000 population in 2019. The age-standardised incidence rate declined by 9·3% (3·3–15·5) from 1990 to 2019. Among 28·76 million (25·60–32·21) prevalent cases of stroke in 2019, 24·18 million (20·80–27·87) were ischaemic stroke, 4·36 million (3·69–5·05) were intracerebral haemorrhage, and 1·58 million (1·32–1·91) were subarachnoid haemorrhage. The prevalence rate increased by 106·0% (93·7–118·8) and age-standardised prevalence rate increased by 13·2% (7·7–19·1) from 1990 to 2019. In 2019, there were 2·19 million (1·89–2·51) deaths and 45·9 million (39·8–52·3) DALYs due to stroke. The mortality rate increased by 32·3% (8·6–59·0) from 1990 to 2019. Over the same period, the age-standardised mortality rate decreased by 39·8% (28·6–50·7) and the DALY rate decreased by 41·6% (30·7–50·9). High systolic blood pressure, ambient particulate matter pollution exposure, smoking, and diet high in sodium were four major risk factors for stroke burden in 2019. Moreover, we found marked differences of stroke burden and attributable risk factors across provinces in China from 1990 to 2019.


The disease burden of stroke is still severe in China, although the age-standardised incidence and mortality rates have decreased since 1990. The stroke burden in China might be reduced through blood pressure management, lifestyle interventions, and air pollution control. Moreover, because substantial heterogeneity of stroke burden existed in different provinces, improved health care is needed in provinces with heavy stroke burden.


Ma Q, Li R, Wang L, Yin P, Wang Y, Yan C, Ren Y, Zhengmin, Vaughn MG, McMillin SE, Hay SI, Naghavi M, Cai M, Wang C, Zhang Z, Zhou M, Hualiang L, Yang Y. Temporal trend and attributable risk factors of stroke burden in China, 1990–2019: an analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019. The Lancet Public Health. 29 November 2021. doi: 10.1016/S2468-2667(21)00228-0.