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Stroke after heart attack

12/08/2005 - News

Stroke after heart attack

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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Stroke after heart attack

Reported by Susan Aldridge, PhD, medical journalist

New research shows that those who have had a heart attack are 44 times more likely to have a stroke in the 30 days following, compared to the rest of the population.
Previous research has shown a link between stroke and heart attack - hardly surprising as they share many of the same risk factors. Now a team at the Mayo Clinic shows that the risk of stroke is particularly high in the 30 days after a heart attack.

They studied the records of 2,160 patients who received care for a heart attack at the Mayo Clinic between 1979 and 1984 - following them up for six years. During the first 30 days after a heart attack, the risk of stroke is 44 times higher than it is in the rest of the population. Then, in the following three years, the risk is still two to three times higher. Older age, previous stroke and diabetes increase this stroke risk further. Over time, the risk does not seem to decrease.

The study highlights the importance of taking measures after a heart attack to improve health generally - such as prescribing aspirin, cholesterol-lowering drugs and having a healthy lifestyle. This may prevent stroke as well as recurrent heart attack.

Source
Mayo Clinic 5th December 2005

Created on: 12/08/2005
Reviewed on: 12/08/2005

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