Recent population-based and hospital cohort studies have reported a decreasing incidence of aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage (aSAH) and declining aSAH-associated case-fatality rates. Principal drivers of these trends are debated, but improvements in smoking cessation and hypertension control may be critical factors.
The population-based medical records linkage system of the Rochester Epidemiological Project was used to document aSAH incidence and 30-day case fatality rates during a 20-year study period (1996–2016) in Olmsted County, Minnesota. Incidence rates in the study period were compared with data from a previous Olmsted County study concerning aSAH incidence from 1965 to 1995 and with regional trends in tobacco use.
One hundred nineteen incident cases of aSAH were included. The median age at hemorrhage was 59 years (range 16–94 years), and 74 patients were female (62.2%). The overall average annual aSAH incidence rate was 4.2/100,000 person-years (P-Y). The aSAH incidence rate decreased from 5.7/100,000 in 1996 to 3.5/100,000 P-Y in 2011–2016. The overall aSAH-associated 30-day case-fatality rate was 21.9% and declined by approximately 0.5% annually. An accelerated decline in the fatality rate (0.9%/year) was observed from 2006–2016. Smoking among adult Olmsted County residents decreased from 20.4% in 2000 to 9.1% in 2018.
A decline in the incidence of aSAH and 30-day case-fatality rate from 1996 to 2016 was observed, as well as an accelerated decline of the fatality rate from 2006 to 2016. These findings confirm and extend the trends reported by prior studies in the same population. The decrease in aSAH in the years studied paralleled a noticeable reduction in the population smoking rates.