BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE In clinical trials stroke is reported as a major morbid outcome, but the impact of stroke on patients is not directly assessed. This study examines patient preferences for different outcomes of stroke, including death. METHODS We presented patients with written case scenarios of stroke outcomes. The scenarios represented four categories of stroke severity (mild, moderate, severe, and fatal), and for nonfatal strokes the scenarios described motor, language, and cognitive deficits. Patients reported values for each of the 10 stroke scenarios using a rank-and-scale method over a 100-point range, with 100 representing perfect health and 0 corresponding to the worst possible health state. RESULTS One hundred seventeen of 209 consecutive patients at risk for stroke participated in this study. Severe strokes were uniformly rated as having low preference weights (mean +/- SD [median]: 3 +/- 4  for disabling hemiplegia, 8 +/- 9  for confusion, and 15 +/- 14  for global aphasia), and severe motor impairment (a disabling hemiplegia) was rated as significantly worse than death. Even mild deficits resulted in substantial loss to patients (54 +/- 21  for dysarthria and 53 +/- 21  for mild anomia). CONCLUSIONS Strokes may result in a wide variety of post-stroke consequences for patients. Severe strokes may be viewed by patients as tantamount to or worse than death. Even mild strokes may cause significant declines in patient preferences for health states. These data are useful in interpreting studies that report stroke and death, in designing new studies that measure stroke in at-risk populations, and in helping patients reach treatment decisions about therapies designed to prevent strokes.