A new study has identified several infections as potential stroke triggers, with researchers suggesting the findings could have important implications for treatments in those at risk.
For the study, researchers examined data from the New York State Inpatient Databases and Emergency Department Databases (2006-2013), exploring the link between exposure to several infections, including skin, urinary tract infection (UTI), septicaemia, abdominal and respiratory infections, in different time periods before acute ischaemic stroke, intracerebral haemorrhage and subarachnoid haemorrhage. Records for hospitalisations for infections were considered for 7, 14, 30, 60, 90 and 120 days prior to the stroke occurrence.
They found that every infection type was linked with an increased likelihood of ischaemic stroke, with the greatest association for UTIs (odds ratio [OR] 5.32; 95% CI 3.69-7.68) within the seven-day window. For intracerebral haemorrhage, the risks were highest with UTIs, septicaemia and respiratory infections. Only respiratory infection was associated with subarachnoid haemorrhage.
"Healthcare providers need to be aware that stroke can be triggered by infections," said author Mandip Dhamoon. “These findings suggest that there could be implications for vaccination, antibiotic regimens or intensive antithrombotic treatments not only to prevent the infections but to prevent stroke in those who are deemed high-risk."