Journal Articles

Publication Date



Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology


Stroke is the second leading cause of mortality globally with higher burden and younger age in low-middle income countries (LMICs) than high-income countries (HICs). However, it is unclear to what extent differences in healthcare access and quality (HAQ) and prevalence of risk factors between LMICs and HICs contribute to younger age of stroke in LMICs. In this systematic review, we conducted meta-analysis of 67 articles and compared the mean age of stroke between LMICs and HICs, before and after adjusting for HAQ index. We also compared the prevalence of main stroke risk factors between HICs and LMICs. The unadjusted mean age of stroke in LMICs was significantly lower than HICs (63.1 vs. 68.6), regardless of gender (63.9 vs. 66.6 among men, and 65.6 vs. 70.7 among women) and whether data were collected in population- (64.7 vs. 69.5) or hospital-based (62.6 vs. 65.9) studies (all p < 0.01). However, after adjusting for HAQ index, the difference in the mean age of stroke between LMICs and HICs was not significant (p ≥ 0.10), except among women (p = 0.048). In addition, while the median prevalence of hypertension in LMICs was 23.4% higher than HICs, the prevalence of all other risk factors was lower in LMICs than HICs. Our findings suggest a much larger contribution of HAQ to the younger mean age of stroke in LMICs, as compared with other potential factors. Additional studies on stroke care quality and accessibility are needed in LMICs.


Developing Countries, Female, Health Services Accessibility, Humans, Male, Prevalence, Risk Factors, Stroke



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