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The burden of stroke in the Lao People's Democratic Republic


  • Conflicts of interest: None declared.

Correspondence: Keat Wei Loo, Human Genome Centre, School of Medical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Kubang Kerian, Kelantan 16150, Malaysia.



In the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Laos), stroke is ranked as the third leading cause of death, with a 9·01% mortality rate. To date, neither the prevalence nor the incidence of stroke has been recorded in Laos. This omission may be attributed to a lack of awareness among Laotians of the signs and symptoms of stroke, incomplete data, or insufficient database recording. The only risk factor for stroke that has been studied extensively is cigarette smoking; studies have found that smokers have twice the risk of stroke. Unfortunately, smoking is increasing among youths, adults, and even healthcare professionals. The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance stated that 42% of hospitalized stroke patients are smokers. Laos is one of the least developed countries in the world, and the country has only one fully trained neurologist for the growing number of stroke cases. The Laos government should seek help from international bodies, such as the World Health Organization, to monitor and rehabilitate stroke patients and prevent stroke occurrence and recurrence.