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Eur J Neurol. 2002 Nov;9(6):625-32.

Risk factors for cryptogenic ischaemic stroke.

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Department of Neurology, Oulu University Central Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.


This case-control study was designed to identify risk factors for cryptogenic brain infarction. We assessed the frequency of prothrombotic states, homocysteine, lipoprotein (a) [Lp(a)] and other lipids and the apolipoprotein E phenotype together with conventional risk factors in 46 patients (19 women and 27 men) with cryptogenic brain infarction aged from 15 to 60 years and in 104 community-based controls. Multivariate odds ratios (ORs) for risk factors and 95% CIs were calculated by logistic regression. Hypertension (OR 4.5; 95% CI, 1.5-13.2; P = 0.006), current smoking (OR 2.9; 95% CI, 1.2-6.8; P = 0.012), low HDL cholesterol (HDL-C) (OR 5.4; 95% CI, 1.1-25.5; P = 0.035) and high clotting factor VIII activity (OR 3.6; 95% CI, 1.1-12.2; P = 0.041) were variables associated with cryptogenic brain infarction. These risk factors were not equally frequent in women and men. Low HDL-C and high factor VIII activity in the women, and hypertension, current smoking and a low level of plasma folate in the men were risk factors for cryptogenic stroke. Several of the observed risk factors for cryptogenic brain infarction were lifestyle-associated, which emphasizes the role of health education in addition to pharmacological treatment in the prevention of stroke.

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