BACKGROUND Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the first leading cause of disability in developed and developing countries. It is one of the most demanding public health problems to be faced in the upcoming years, particularly because of population aging. STATE OF THE ART New therapeutic advances in the management of acute stroke have changed our perception of this condition and have had a major impact on healthcare organization and subsequently healthcare expenditures. Care required for the stroke victim is costly in both developing countries and in developed countries. Hemmorhagic events are the most costly, but their prevalence in Western countries is lower than ischemic events. Prevalence of ischemic events is higher in Asian countries. The direct costs of stroke, both for primary and secondary events, constitute the larger part of healthcare expenditures. The mean cost of stroke in France is estimated at 18,000 euros for the first 12 months. Disability accounts for 42 percent of the variable cost of stroke. During the first year, the acute phase accounts for 40 percent of the cost, rehabilitation and mid-term hospitalization for 29 percent, and ambulatory care for 8 percent. After 46 months, the cost of ambulatory care exceeds the cost of the first six months of care during and following the acute phase. CONCLUSION Any improvement in the primary or secondary prevention of stroke will lead to a decrease in the incidence and prevalence of stroke, and any therapeutic advance capable of reducing disability will consequently reduce the overall cost of stroke.