Stroke Rare in Absence of Known Risks

January 6, 2007

The reason a person has a stroke is no mystery. Results of a Danish study, reported at the 10th Congress of the European Federation of Neurological Societies in Glasgow, Scotland, held September 2 to 5, confirmed that risk factors could be identified in 98.5% of acute ischemic stroke patients.

The reason a person has a stroke is no mystery. Results of a Danish study, reported at the 10th Congress of the European Federation of Neurological Societies in Glasgow, Scotland, held September 2 to 5, confirmed that risk factors could be identified in 98.5% of acute ischemic stroke patients.

Researchers from the Department of Neurology at Bispebjerg Hospital in Copenhagen analyzed data on 895 patients in whom acute ischemic stroke was identified after they had been admitted to an acute stroke unit. All but 17 of these patients had 1 to 8 (mostly 1 to 4) of the following pre-specified risk factors: previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), hypertension, a blood pressure reading of 150/90 mm Hg at 24 hours after admission, ischemic heart disease, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, use of hormone replacement therapy, alcohol abuse, cigarette smoking, hyperhomocysteinemia, hypercholesterolemia, or obstructive lung disease. The most common risk factors were hypertension, cigarette smoking, and previous stroke or TIA.

Of the 17 patients who did not have any pre-specified risk factor, 13 (76.5%) had no identifiable stroke-related risk factors. The remaining 4 had various cardiovascular defects (patent foramen ovale, atrial septal defect, and cerebral vasculitis) and 1 of these 4 patients was obese as well as anemic.

The investigative team, led by Hanne Christensen, MD, PhD, concluded that commonly known risk factors are present in the overwhelming majority of stroke patients.
-Dee Rapposelli