Background: Few studies provide information on trends in the long-term outcome of stroke. We aimed to determine trends in survival and recurrent stroke, over 5 years after first-ever stroke, for 2 cohorts of patients enrolled in the Perth Community Stroke Study in 1989 90 and 1995-96. Methods: For 12-month periods beginning February 1989 and February 1995, all individuals with an acute stroke who were resident in a geographically-defined and representative region of Perth, Western Australia, were registered and followed-up prospectively 5 years after the index event. Results: The 5-year cumulative risk of death was 59% (95% confidence interval (CI) 53%, 65%) and 58% (95% CI 52%, 65%) for the 1989-90 and 1995-96 cohorts, respectively (p = 0.94). The 5-year cumulative risk of first recurrent stroke was 32% (95% CI 25%, 40%) and 23% (95% CI 16%, 30%) for the 1989-90 and 1995-96 cohorts, respectively (p = 0.07). Conclusions: Although no statistically significant improvement occurred in 5-year survival after first-ever stroke in Perth between 1989-90 and 1995-96, there was a statistically nonsignificant trend towards a smaller cumulative risk of recurrent stroke over 5 years after a first-ever stroke. Serial community-based studies of the incidence and outcome of stroke are an important means of monitoring the translation of proven preventive interventions to improvements in population health. Copyright (C) 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel.