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13-09-2012 | Psychology | Article

Heavy drinking risks early severe stroke


Free abstract

medwireNews: Heavy alcohol drinkers are at high risk for suffering intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) at a relatively young age, say researchers.

Indeed, their research found that ICH patients who drank heavily were on average 14 years younger at the time of the event than nonheavy drinkers.

Charlotte Cordonnier (University of Lille Nord de France) and colleagues also found that heavy alcohol drinkers (three or more alcoholic drinks per day or >300 g/week) younger than 60 years who experienced ICH were a significant 96% more likely to die within 2 years than those who drank less.

"Heavy drinking has been consistently identified as a risk factor for this type of stroke, which is caused by bleeding in the brain rather than a blood clot," remarked Cordonnier in a press statement.

"Our study focuses on the effects of heavy alcohol use on the timeline of stroke and the long-term outcome for those people."

As reported in Neurology, of 540 patients admitted to Lille Hospital with ICH between November 2004 and March 2009, 137 (25%) were heavy alcohol drinkers (median age 60 vs 74 years in nonabusers).

Multivariate analysis revealed that heavy alcohol drinkers were significantly younger (odds ratio [OR] for heavy drinking=0.97 per 1-year increase) and less likely to have a history of ischemic heart disease (0R=0.34) than nonheavy drinkers.

Heavy alcohol drinkers were also 3.96-times more likely to smoke than nonheavy drinkers.

In a radiologic model, independent predictors for heavy alcohol intake were nonlobar location of ICH, at an OR of 1.71 and less severe leukoaraiosis, at an OR of 0.76 per one-step increase in leukoaraiosis score.

Platelet count and prothrombin ratio were significantly lower among heavy alcohol drinkers, the authors note.

For the study, 540 ICH patients were interviewed about their drinking habits. Caregivers and relatives of the participants were also interviewed about the participants' drinking habits.

"It's important to keep in mind that drinking large amounts of alcohol contributes to a more severe form of stroke at a younger age in people who had no significant past medical history," commented Cordonnier.

medwireNews ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Piriya Mahendra, medwireNews Reporter

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