Study investigates potential link between TBI and risk of stroke

Anyone in Cabell County, West Virginia, who has suffered from a traumatic brain injury, or seen a loved one be affected by the condition, knows that the consequences can be devastating. A person who survives a TBI may experience long-term disabilities, changes in memory or perception, and worse. Recent research indicates that an enhanced risk of stroke may be another derogatory condition that TBI victims face.

TBI may increase stroke risk

The study, which was published in the online medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, spent five years observing victims who presented at California emergency rooms or hospitals due to either a brain injury or another physical injury. The study included more than 1 million patients, with 435,630 of those people suffering TBIs.

The study found that slightly more of the TBI victims experienced strokes in the 28 months after their injury. Compared to the 0.9 percent of people who had another injury and suffered an ischemic stroke, 1.1 percent of TBI victims suffered from the same type of stroke. These results aren't especially striking, but the study found a more significant connection when they corrected for each patient's medical conditions and other factors that increase the risk of stroke. These included:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Age
  • Heart disease
  • The seriousness of the injury

When these variables were accounted for, the study found that the likelihood of TBI victims later suffering from a stroke was 30 percent greater than the chance of people with other injuries suffering from one. The study author described the connection as being comparable to the correlation between stroke and its leading risk factor, high blood pressure.

Uncovering a connection between stroke and TBI could lead to better preventive treatments for these strokes. Since stroke and TBI both affect a large number of people in the U.S., these findings could have a large impact.

Stroke and TBI are significant problems

According to the CDC, stroke is the leading cause of death in the U.S. TBI is also a major health issue, with an estimated 1.7 million TBI injuries occurring annually, according to the same organization. Establishing a better understanding of both risk factors and potential consequences of conditions that affect so many people has obvious benefits.

A connection between TBI and stroke could also shed light on the potential risk for young people experiencing a stroke. The same American Academy of Neurology study reports that adults under age 65 suffer about one in five of all strokes, and that the risk for stroke in younger people is not yet well understood.

The study author hopes that, if TBI is proven to be a risk factor for stroke, future research will delve into why that is the case and find a way to prevent these strokes. Such findings would benefit TBI victims of any age.

If you or a loved one has suffered from a TBI, you should speak with an attorney about receiving compensation for your injury as well as its long-term effects.

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