Direct costs were estimated for the treatment, rehabilitation, and nursing of 125 patients with first stroke in the Lund and Orup health districts (population of 200,191). Patients were followed from the onset of stroke in 1983 until October 31, 1985. The data were used to calculate the present value of the expected lifetime direct costs for an individual contracting his or her first stroke at various ages. For example, at the age of 72, these costs were estimated at SEK 283,000 for a man and SEK 561,000 for a woman. Hospital care was the major cost component (75% for males and 89% for females) at this age of onset. The results could be used to estimate the economic benefits of preventing new strokes, hence, forming part of a cost-effectiveness or cost-utility analysis. Together with prognoses of the expected developments in the incidence of stroke, they could also serve as the basis of forecasts of future costs of the health care and social service sectors.