Stroke mortality variations in South-East Asia: empirical evidence from the field


  • Conflicts of interest: None declared.
  • Role of the funding source: The authors had sole responsibility for the analysis and interpretation of the data, and for the writing of the manuscript. The corresponding author had full access to all the data in the study, received no payment for writing or revision of the manuscript, and had final responsibility for the decision to submit for publication.
  • Contributors: D. H. was responsible for the data analysis and developed the first draft of the manuscript. C. R. conceptualized the research design, and contributed to the data analysis and content of the manuscript. N. H., S. S., and A. M. L. made important contributions to the interpretation of the results. All authors were responsible for revisions to initial drafts and approving the final version of the manuscript.



Stroke is a leading cause of death in Asia; however, many estimates of stroke mortality are based on epidemiological models rather than empirical data. Since 2005, initiatives have been undertaken in a number of Asian countries to strengthen and analyse vital registration data. This has increased the availability of empirical data on stroke mortality.


The aim of this paper is to present estimates of stroke mortality for Indonesia, Myanmar, Viet Nam, Thailand, and Malaysia, which have been derived using these empirical data.


Age-specific stroke mortality rates were calculated in each of the five countries, and adjusted for data completeness or misclassification where feasible. All data were age-standardized and the resulting rates were compared with World Health Organization estimates, which are largely based on epidemiological models.


Using empirical data, stroke ranked as the leading cause of death in all countries except Malaysia, where it ranked as the second leading cause. Age-standardized rates for males ranged from 94 per 100 000 in Thailand, to over 300 per 100 000 in Indonesia. In all countries, rates were higher for males than for females, and those compiled from empirical data were generally higher than modelled estimates published by World Health Organization.


This study highlights the extent of stroke mortality in selected Asian countries, and provides important baseline information to investigate the aetiology of stroke in Asia and design appropriate public health strategies to address the rapidly growing burden from stroke.