Tags: Stroke | Raises | Long-term | Heart | Attack | Risk

Stroke Raises Long-term Heart Attack Risk

Wednesday, 20 June 2007 12:00 AM

The risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart-related causes is raised substantially for people who have suffered a stroke, even for those without high-risk features, according to researchers.

Writing in the medical journal Stroke, Dr. Mitchell S. V. Elkind and colleagues from Columbia University, New York, point out that national guidelines call for lowering LDL ("bad") cholesterol in people at high risk for a heart attack or coronary death. "But stroke patients are not explicitly addressed," they note.

The researchers examined cardiovascular events over five years in a population-based group of 655 people who had suffered a first stroke. Their average age was 69 and 45 percent were men. The ethnic mix was mainly Hispanic (51 percent), black (28 percent), and white (19 percent).

There were 86 "vascular" deaths during follow-up, Elkind's team reports. Specifically 17 deaths were due to heart attacks, 8 resulted from congestive heart failure, 15 were due to the heart suddenly stopping (so-called sudden cardiac death), 39 were caused by stroke, and 7 were classified as "other."

The risk of a heart attack or vascular death "was relatively higher during the first year after stroke than for each of the subsequent 4 years," the researchers report.

The risk was highest for people who were older than 70 when they had a stroke, and for those with prior heart-related problems.

Overall, the findings might help identify stroke patients who would benefit especially from treatments aimed at protecting their hearts, Elkind and colleagues conclude.

SOURCE: Stroke, June 2007.

© reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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The risk of having a heart attack or dying from heart-related causes is raised substantially for people who have suffered a stroke, even for those without high-risk features, according to researchers. Writing in the medical journal Stroke, Dr. Mitchell S. V. Elkind and...
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Wednesday, 20 June 2007 12:00 AM
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