In a new study, researchers found that having a silent heart attack may increase stroke risk.
Previous research has shown that heart attacks cause classic symptoms such as pressure and pain in the chest.
But some heart attacks have fewer recognized symptoms and are hard to detect.
These silent heart attacks can form blood clots and may increase patients’ stroke risk.
The research was done by a team from Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian.
It is estimated that more than 700,000 people are diagnosed with a stroke every year.
About 20% to 25% of these patients strokes of undetermined cause. It means doctors can’t determine the cause of stroke.
One possible explanation for these strokes is that a distant blood clot traveled to the brain, but the source of the clot is unclear.
In addition, doctors often can’t give these patients appropriate care to prevent another stroke.
In the study, the team examined the medical records of more than 900 patients who enrolled in a longitudinal study in Iceland.
These patients aged 67 to 93 years old and underwent brain MRI and cardiac MRI between 2004 and 2007.
They found that people with a silent heart attack were 1.5 times as likely to have a stroke.
In addition, a silent heart attack is linked to double the risk of stroke of undetermined cause. This suggests that blood clots may form after silent heart attacks.
The researchers suggest it is important to find the best drugs for treating silent heart attack and stop the blood clot from forming.
Anticoagulant drugs that slow blood clot formation may benefit patients with stroke of an undetermined cause who also have evidence of silent heart attack.
Future work needs to test this and confirm the finding of the study.
The lead author of the study is Dr. Alexander Merkler.
The study is published in JAMA Neurology.
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