What is the cost of diagnosis, treatment for strokes

What is a stroke?

A stroke, also known as cerebral vascular accident (CVA) or brain attack, takes place when the supply of blood to the brain is disrupted, resulting in damage to the brain cells and tissue. The blood flow can be disrupted either due to an obstruction in the artery or rupture of blood vessels.

In India, strokes are among the leading cause of disability and death, with 18 lakh stroke cases reported every year, according to the Indian Stroke Association. “As many as one in four people are likely to suffer from strokes in their lifetime in India,” says Dr. Vipul Gupta, Chief, Neuro-interventional Surgery, & Co-Chief, Stroke Unit, Artemis Hospital, Gurugram. As per WHO data published in 2020, India recorded 6.97 lakh deaths, or 8.23% of total deaths, due to strokes.

Types of strokes

Depending on the reason for disruption of blood flow, strokes can be of two types: ischaemic and haemorrhagic. “When the blood supply to brain is blocked due to a clot or plaque in the artery, it’s known as ischaemic stroke, while 20-25% of strokes are haemorrhagic, which happens when a blood vessel bursts or is ruptured, leading to bleeding,” says Dr Gupta.

Another stroke type is the transient ischaemic attack (TIA) or a mini-stroke, where the blood supply is blocked temporarily, and is restored when the blockage is removed. Haemorrhagic strokes can occur either due to high blood pressure or aneurysms, where swelling of blood vessels causes rupture. Among the main causes of stroke are high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, smoking and obesity. “If you control these issues, you can reduce the stroke risk by 70%,” says Dr Gupta.


It is much easier and cheaper to prevent strokes than treat them. If a stroke patient is not provided medical care immediately, the damage will require extensive treatment and longterm rehabilitation, pushing up the costs signifi cantly.

Doctor’s consultation fee

  • Neurologist: Rs.1,000-2,000

Diagnostic tests

The diagnosis needs to be carried out quickly to reduce and treat brain damage. The faster a patient is provided medical care, the higher his chances of recovery. An easy way to recognise the symptoms is via the word ‘FAST’, especially for ischaemic strokes: F for Face, which becomes asymmetrical, that is, one side sags; A for Arm, which becomes numb or can’t be moved; S for Speech, when the patient is unable to speak; and T for time, which needs to be as less as possible for treatment to begin.

In case of haemorrhagic strokes, the patient will develop an excruciating headache within minutes and will require immediate medical attention.

Blood tests: This is done for checking blood sugar, clotting of blood, etc.

CT Scan: The scan can help locate bleeding, diagnose ischaemic stroke, etc.

MRI: This also helps diagnose an ischaemic stroke and decide the course of treatment.

Angiography: It involves the use of X-ray imaging and catheter inserted in the blood vessel to detect the size and location of blocks.

Treatment costs

Transient Ischaemic Attack (TIA) Course of treatment: Since this is caused by blockage, typically due to clots, the treatment involves giving blood thinners to dissolve the clots. It can also involve angioplasty or surgery, which means opening up the blood vessel by inserting a stent, and does not require long hospitalisation.

  • Medication cost: Rs.1,000-2,000
  • Angioplasty/stent: Rs.2.5-3 lakh

Ischaemic Stroke Course of treatment: In an emergency, there are two main treatment courses to open up the blocked blood vessels.

Thrombolytic drug: This involves medication for dissolving clots through thrombolytic drugs via an injection. These drugs are stronger than blood thinners and can dissolve tough clots as well. However, these must be administered within 4.5 hours of a stroke and work only for smaller blood vessels.

Mechanical thrombectomy: In case of acute ischaemic strokes due to blockage in larger arteries, another treatment involves reaching inside the blocked vessel and removing the clot through a device known as stent retriever. This can be done within 24 hours of a stroke and helps reverse it by restoring blood fl ow. “This is the most effective procedure the world over, though the awareness and access to it is low in India,” says Dr Gupta. It also requires longer hospital stay, typically 4-8 days.

Haemorrhagic Stroke

Course of treatment: In this case, there are two types of treatments depending on the cause of bleeding. The fi rst is where bleeding is due to blood pressure, and the second is due to aneurysms. The patient’s treatment and hospital stay will depend on how extensive the bleeding is. “Some patients may have to stay for a couple of weeks in hospital as it may require surgery, ventilator and ICU stay,” says Dr Gupta.

Bleeding due to blood pressure: This involves treatment either through medication or open surgery to control bleeding. The blood vessel is typically small and may not require repair.

  • Medication cost: Rs.1,000-2,000
  • Open surgery cost: Rs.2-3 lakh

Bleeding due to aneurysm:

There are two ways to treat this involving either open surgery or through an intervention process known as coiling. “The risk involved is much higher in open surgery and may require a longer stay in ICU/hospital. The intervention method is safer and most patients are treated using this method nowadays,” says Dr Gupta.

  • Open surgery cost: Rs.2-3 lakh
  • Coiling cost: Rs.3-10 lakh


Course of treatment: The post-stroke rehabilitation may require nursing care and physiotherapy. It can be a short- or long-term process depending on the severity of stroke. It could range from a week to lifetime of care. “In severe cases, the best option is to admit a patient to a rehab centre, where proper nursing care and physiotherapy can be provided. These are cheaper than hospitals and more convenient than treatment at home,” says Dr Gupta. However, there are very few good centres currently in India.

  • Nursing: Rs.50,000-1 lakh a month
  • Physiotherapy: Rs.10,000-30,000 a month
  • Rehab: Rs.5,000-10,000 a day
  • Medication: Rs.1,000-3,000 a month

All costs are for Delhi, are indicative and may vary for different hospitals/clinics and labs.

Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.