Changes in cerebrovascular disease–related deaths and their location during the COVID-19 pandemic in Japan

S. Nomura, A. Eguchi, C. Ghaznavi, L. Yamasaki, S. K. Rauniyar, Y. Tanoue, T. Kawashima, D. Yoneoka, S. Kohsaka, M. Suzuki, M. Hashizume

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Objective: The COVID-19 pandemic placed an enormous strain on healthcare systems and raised concerns for delays in the management of patients with acute cerebrovascular events. In this study, we investigated cerebrovascular excess deaths in Japan. Study design: Vital mortality statistics from January 2012 to May 2022 were obtained from the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Methods: Using quasi-Poisson regression models, we estimated the expected weekly number of cerebrovascular deaths in Japan from January 2020 through May 2022 by place of death. Estimates were calculated for deaths in all locations, as well as for deaths in hospitals, in geriatric health service facilities, and at home. The age subgroups of ≥75 and <75 years were also considered. Weeks with a statistically significant excess of cerebrovascular deaths were determined when the weekly number of observed deaths exceeded the upper bound of 97.5% prediction interval. Results: Excess deaths were noted in June 2021 and became more pronounced from February 2022 onward. The trend was notable among those aged ≥75 years and for those who died in hospitals. With respect to the location of deaths, the excess was significant in geriatric health services facilities from April 2020 to June 2021, whereas no evidence of excess hospital deaths was observed during the same period. Conclusions: Beginning in the late 2021, excess cerebrovascular deaths coincided with the spread of the Omicron variant and may be associated with increased healthcare burden. In 2020, COVID-19 altered the geography of cerebrovascular deaths, with fewer people dying in hospitals and more dying in geriatric health service facilities and at home.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-179
Number of pages4
JournalPublic Health
Publication statusPublished - 2023 May


  • COVID-19
  • Cerebrovascular deaths
  • Excess deaths
  • Japan
  • Place of deaths

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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