Stroke: key data sources


The incidence of cerebrovascular disease (CVD) can be estimated from the Scottish Morbidity Record (SMR) databases, by counting 'new' SMR01 hospital admissions for CVD (i.e. records for people with no previous admission for CVD in the last 10 years)

However, it is essential to understand the major limitations of this approach - these are detailed on the ISD linked database.


Information on deaths from CVD (including stroke and subarachnoid haemorrhage) is collated from death registrations by the National Records of Scotland (NRS).


Information on stroke prevalence can be obtained from a number of sources such as the Scottish Health Survey and the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF). Both of these data sources provide high level estimates of prevalence.

Hospital discharge data

Statistics on discharges from hospital due to CVD (including stroke, transient ischaemic attack (TIA), subarachnoid haemorrhage) are held in the Scottish Morbidity Record (SMR) databases.

Primary care activity

The two main sources include (1) an estimate of the number of GP/practice nurse consultations for stroke, collected by the Practice Team Information (PTI) programme and (2) an estimate of the prevalence of stroke/TIA taken from the Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) data, recorded by practices in the form of disease registers.

Prescribing data

Practitioner Services (PSD) are responsible for the processing and pricing of all prescriptions dispensed within Scotland, including drugs prescribed for the treatment of cardiovascular disease. Information on NHS prescriptions dispensed in the community is compiled by ISD's Prescribing Team from data provided by PSD. More information is given in ISD's Prescribing and Medicine page.

Ambulance service data

Information on Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) activity for patients with stroke is extracted from the SAS Data Warehouse at ePRF (electronic patient record form) level. It includes (1) incidents where a SAS resource attended and (2) conveyances where a patient was conveyed to hospital. More details are provided in ISD's Stroke pages under Ambulance Service Activity.