Clin Neurol Neurosurg 2014 May 1;120:78-83. Epub 2014 Mar 1.
Department of Neurology, CHU Toulouse Rangueil, 31059 Toulouse, France. Electronic address:
Background And Purpose: Studies of risk factors for ischemic stroke in the young have generally considered ischemic stroke as a whole. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the association of traditional cardiovascular risk factors with etiological subtypes of ischemic stroke in young adults.
Methods: Retrospective review of data from patients aged 16-54 years consecutively treated for first-ever ischemic stroke in an academic stroke unit. Definite causes of stroke were classified using the ASCO (A for atherothrombosis, S for small vessel disease, C for cardiac source, O for other cause) classification system. We used multinomial logistic regression analysis to evaluate associations of age, gender, smoking, hypertension, diabetes and blood lipids with each etiological subtype.
Results: A total of 400 patients were included: 244 men (61.1%), 156 women (38.9%); mean age (SD) 44.5 (8.5) years. A definite cause of stroke could be identified in 202 (50.5%) patients. Definite causes of stroke included: atherothrombosis, 72 (18.0%) patients; cardioembolism, 37 (9.25%) patients; small vessel disease, 28 (7.0%) patients; other definite cause, 65 (16.25%) patients including 44 patients with carotid or vertebral artery dissection. Atherothrombosis was associated with age, smoking, diabetes, hypertension and low HDL-cholesterol. Small vessel disease was associated with age and hypertension. Cardioembolism was associated with age.
Conclusion: The risk factor profile differs between etiological subtypes of ischemic stroke in young adults. Our findings emphasize the impact of smoking, diabetes, hypertension and low HDL-cholesterol as risk factors for atherothrombosis, and of hypertension as a risk factor for small vessel disease in young adults.