Acute infection contributes to racial disparities in stroke mortality

Neurology:  2/7/14

Objective: It is unknown whether racial differences in exposure to acute precipitants of stroke, specifically infection, contribute to racial disparities in stroke mortality.

Methods: Among participants in the nationally representative Health and Retirement Study with linked Medicare data (1991–2007), we conducted a case-crossover study employing within-person comparisons to study racial/ethnic differences in the risks of death and hospitalization from ischemic stroke following acute infection.

Results: There were 964 adults hospitalized for ischemic stroke. Acute infection increased the 30-day risks of ischemic stroke death (5.82-fold) and ischemic stroke hospitalization (1.87-fold). Acute infection was a more potent trigger of acute ischemic stroke death in non-Hispanic blacks (odds ratio [OR] 39.21; 95% confidence interval [CI] 9.26–166.00) than in non-Hispanic whites (OR 4.50; 95% CI 3.14–6.44) or Hispanics (OR 5.18; 95% CI 1.34–19.95) (race-by-stroke interaction, p = 0.005). Read more