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J Stroke. 2017 May;19(2):213-221. doi: 10.5853/jos.2016.01347. Epub 2017 May 31.

Association of Optimal Combination Drug Treatment with Obesity Status among Recent Ischemic Stroke Patients: Results of the Vitamin Intervention for Stroke Prevention (VISP) Trial.

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Department of Neurologry, Myongji Hospital, Seonam University College of Medicine, Goyang, Korea.
Department of Biostatistics, College of Medicine, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.
Department of Neurology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC, USA.



One explanation for the 'obesity paradox', where obese patients seem to have better cardiovascular outcomes than lean patients, is that obese patients display an identifiable high cardiovascular risk phenotype that may lead to receiving or seeking earlier/more aggressive treatment.


We analyzed a clinical trial dataset comprising 3643 recent (<120 days) ischemic stroke patients followed up for 2 years. Subjects were categorized as lean (body mass index [BMI], <25 kg/m2, n=1,006), overweight (25-29.9 kg/m2, n=1,493), or obese (≥30 kg/m2, n=1,144). Subjects were classified as level 0 to III depending on the number of secondary prevention prescriptions divided by the number of potentially indicated drugs (0=none of the indicated medications and III=all indicated medications as optimal combination drug treatment [OCT]). Independent associations between each BMI category and stroke/myocardial infarction/vascular death (major vascular events [MVEs]) and all-cause death were assessed.


MVEs occurred in 17.4% of lean, 16.1% of overweight, and 17.1% of obese patients; death occurred in 7.3%, 5.5%, and 5.1%, respectively. Individuals with a higher BMI status received more OCT (45.8%, 51.7%, and 55.3%, respectively; P<0.001). In the lean patient group, multivariable adjusted Cox analyses, showed that compared with levels 0-I, level II and level III were linked to lower risk of MVEs (hazard ratio [HR] 0.55; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.32-0.95 and HR 0.48; 95% CI: 0.28-0.83, respectively) and death (0.44; 0.21-0.96 and 0.23; 0.10-0.54, respectively).


OCT for secondary prevention after an ischemic stroke is less frequent in lean (vs. obese) subjects, but when implemented is related to significantly better clinical outcomes.


Body mass index; Death; Obesity; Secondary prevention; Stroke; Vascular events

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