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Circulation. 2010 Mar 23;121(11):1304-12. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.854240. Epub 2010 Mar 8.

Parental occurrence of stroke and risk of stroke in their children: the Framingham study.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, 72 E Concord St, B602, Boston, MA 02118, USA.



Data relating parental history of stroke to stroke risk in offspring remain surprisingly inconsistent, largely because of heterogeneity of study design and the absence of verified, as opposed to historical, data on parental stroke status.


We determined whether prospectively verified parental occurrence of stroke increased incident stroke risk among offspring in a community-based sample by studying 3443 stroke-free Framingham offspring (53% female; mean age, 48+/-14 years) with verified parental stroke status (by 65 years of age) who attended the first, third, fifth, and/or seventh offspring examinations and were followed up for up to 8 years after each baseline examination. Over up to 11,029 such person-observation periods (77,534 person-years), we documented 106 parental strokes by 65 years of age and 128 offspring strokes (74 parental and 106 offspring strokes were ischemic). Using multivariable Cox models adjusted for age, sex, sibship, and baseline stroke risk factors, we observed that parental stroke, both all stroke generally and ischemic stroke specifically, was associated with an increased risk of incident stroke of the same type in the offspring (hazard ratio, 2.79; 95% confidence interval, 1.68 to 4.66; P<0.001 for all stroke; and hazard ratio, 3.15; 95% confidence interval, 1.69 to 5.88; P<0.001 for ischemic stroke). This was true for both maternal and paternal stroke.


Documented parental stroke by 65 years of age was associated with a 3-fold increase in risk of offspring stroke. This increased risk persisted after adjustment for conventional stroke risk factors. Thus, verified parental stroke may serve as a clinically useful risk marker of an individual's propensity to stroke.

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