Risk factors and outcomes of hospitalized stroke patients in Lusaka, Zambia

Aparna Nutakki, Mashina Chomba, Lorraine Chishimba, Stanley Zimba, Rebecca F. Gottesman, Mona N. Bahouth, Deanna Saylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Limited data exists about stroke risk factors and outcomes in sub-Saharan African countries, including Zambia. We aim to fill this gap by describing features of hospitalized stroke patients at University Teaching Hospital (UTH), the national referral hospital in Lusaka, Zambia. Methods: We conducted a retrospective study of consecutive adults with stroke admitted to UTH's inpatient neurology service from October 2018 to March 2019. Strokes were classified as ischemic or hemorrhagic based on CT scan results and unknown if CT scan was not obtained. Chi-square analyses and t-tests were used to compare characteristics between cohorts with differing stroke subtypes. Results: Adults with stroke constituted 43% (n = 324) of all neurological admissions, had an average age of 60 ± 18 years, and 62% of the cohort was female. Stroke subtypes were 58% ischemic, 28% hemorrhagic, and 14% unknown. Hypertension was present in 80% of all strokes and was significantly associated with hemorrhagic stroke (p = 0.03). HIV was present in 18% of all strokes and did not significantly differ by stroke subtype. Diabetes (16%), heart disease (34%), atrial fibrillation (9%), and past medical history of stroke (22%) were all significantly more common in patients with ischemic stroke (p < 0.05). In-hospital mortality was 24% overall and highest among individuals with hemorrhagic strokes (33%, p = 0.005). Conclusions: This Zambian stroke cohort is notable for its young age, significant HIV burden, high in-hospital mortality, and high rates of uncontrolled hypertension. Our results demonstrate Zambia's substantial stroke burden, significant contribution of HIV to stroke, and the need to improve primary stroke prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number117404
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
StatePublished - May 15 2021


  • Epidemiology
  • HIV
  • Risk factors
  • Stroke
  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Zambia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'Risk factors and outcomes of hospitalized stroke patients in Lusaka, Zambia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this