The risk of stroke in patients with traumatic brain injury is highest in the four months after the injury and remains significant for up to five years after the injury, new research suggests. The findings of the study were published in the International Journal of Stroke. The research was led by a team from the University of Birmingham.
Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a global health problem that affects over 60 million people a year worldwide. Incidences of TBI are rising due to a number of factors, including an increased decline in the elderly, military conflicts, sports injuries and traffic accidents. However, advances in critical care and imaging have led to a reduction in TBI-related mortality.
Previous studies have linked TBI to the long-term risk of neurological diseases, including dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and epilepsy, and TBI has been proposed as an independent risk factor for stroke.
This latest review, which brings together 18 studies from four countries, is the first of its kind to investigate the risk of stroke after injury.
The review, funded by the Research Center for Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology of the National Institutes of Health Research based at Birmingham University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, found that patients with TBI had an 86 percent increased risk of stroke compared to patients without TBI. The risk of stroke may be highest in the first four months after the injury, but it remains significant for up to five years, the review found.
Significantly, the findings suggest that TBI is a risk factor for stroke regardless of severity or subtype of injury. This is especially noteworthy because 70 to 90 percent of TBI is mild and suggests that TBI should be considered a chronic condition, even if it is mild and if patients are recovering well.
Researchers have also found that the use of anticoagulants, such as VKA and statins, could help reduce the risk of stroke after TBI, while the use of some classes of antidepressants has been linked to an increased risk of stroke after TBI.
Leading author dr. Grace Turner of the Institute for Applied Health Research at the University of Birmingham said: “Stroke is the second leading cause of death and the third leading cause of disability in the world, however, emergency treatment can prevent death from stroke and long-term disability.”
“Our review found some evidence suggesting an association between a reduced risk of stroke after TBI and drugs to prevent stroke VKA and statins, but, as previous studies have found, drugs to prevent stroke often stop when an individual experiences TBI “, added Dr. Turner.
She said more research is needed to investigate the effectiveness of drugs to prevent stroke after TBI to help inform clinicians about prescribing and facilitate joint decision-making.
Dr. Turner went on to say, “As our analysis has shown, patients with TBI should be informed of the potential for an increased risk of stroke and with the highest risk of stroke in the first four months after injury, this is a critical time period for patient education and their caregivers about the risk and symptoms of stroke. “
“This initial four-month period should also be used by clinicians to provide stroke prevention medications and lifestyle advice to alleviate the excess risk of stroke associated with TBI,” concluded Dr. Turner.
This story was published from the wire agency feed without changes in the text. Only the title has changed.