In a new study, researchers found that urinary tract infections showing the strongest link with ischemic stroke, a type of stroke caused by blocked blood vessels in the brain.
The finding confirms that infections are possible stroke triggers.
The research was conducted by a team from Mount Sinai in New York City.
Previous research has examined infections as triggers of stroke, but they were limited to the correlation of acute infections with ischemic stroke.
In the current study, the team considered a wider range of infections, and examined connections with two other types of stroke:
Intracerebral hemorrhage, which is caused by a ruptured blood vessel in the brain, and a type of stroke that results from bleeds in the inner lining of the brain, called subarachnoid hemorrhage.
The researchers used the New York State Inpatient Databases and Emergency Department Databases from 2006 to 2013.
Electronic health record codes showed hospitalizations and emergency department visits for the three types of stroke and for infections, including skin, urinary tract, septicemia, abdominal and respiratory.
The team found that for ischemic stroke, every infection type was linked to an increased likelihood of this type of stroke.
The strongest link was seen with urinary tract infection, which showed more than three times the increased risk of ischemic stroke within 30 days of infection.
For intracerebral hemorrhage, the connections with occurrence were strongest for urinary tract infections, septicemia (blood infection) and respiratory infections.
Respiratory infection was the only infection related to the occurrence of subarachnoid hemorrhage.
The team suggests that healthcare providers need to be aware that stroke can be triggered by infections.
Probing into the previous weeks or months of a patient’s life before the stroke can sometimes help to illuminate the possible causes of stroke if there was an infection during that time.
The senior author of the study is Mandip Dhamoon, M.D., Dr.P.H., associate professor of neurology at the Icahn School of Medicine.
The study is published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke.
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