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19-09-2011 | Stroke | Article

Low triglycerides associated with increased risk for intracerebral hemorrhage


Free abstract

MedWire News: Measuring serum triglyceride levels may aid in the identification of people at risk for intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), study findings suggest.

"We found that low triglyceride levels are associated with an increased risk for ICH, independently of lipid-lowering medication use, levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and other potential confounders," comment the researchers.

"Similarly, we found an inverse association between triglyceride levels and the presence of cerebral microbleeds in the deep or infratentorial brain regions," they add.

Previous studies have shown significant associations between low serum total cholesterol levels and risk for symptomatic ICH and asymptomatic cerebral microbleeds, explain Arfan Ikram (Erasmus University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands) and colleagues in the journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology. However, the relative contribution of lipid fractions to these associations is unclear.

To investigate further, the team analyzed data from 9068 individuals who were free from stroke and aged 55 years or more. Participants were followed up from baseline (1990-2001) through 1 January 2009, and during this time 85 patients suffered from ICH.

As expected, decreasing levels of total serum cholesterol were associated with an increasing risk for ICH. When the researchers investigated the various lipid fractions, they found that the association was due to a strong inverse relationship between triglyceride levels and risk for ICH, and not due to HDL or LDL cholesterol levels.

Indeed, the risk for ICH was 80% higher among individuals in the lowest quartile of triglycerides (0.4-1.0 mmol/l [35.40-88.50 mg/dl]) compared with those in the highest quartile (1.8-4.3 mmol/l [159.30-380.55 mg/dl]).

Serum triglyceride levels were also strongly and inversely associated with the presence of deep or infratentorial microbleeds, which provides "accumulating support for a parallel between asymptomatic microbleeds and symptomatic ICH," remark the authors.

These findings "provide novel insights into the role of lipid metabolism in the etiology of ICH," they conclude.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Nikki Withers

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