Cocaine may increase stroke risk within 24 hours of use

Cocaine greatly increases ischemic stroke risk in young adults within 24 hours of use, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2014.

Ischemic strokes occur when a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain becomes blocked, preventing a continuous supply of blood to the brain.

"We set out to understand what factors contribute to stroke risk in ," said Yu-Ching Cheng, Ph.D., research scientist at Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center and assistant professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. "These factors could be personal behaviors, medical or environmental factors, or genetic factors.

"Cocaine use is one of the risk factors we investigated and we were surprised at how strong an association there is between and stroke risk in young adults. We found the stroke risk associated with acute cocaine use is much higher than some other , such as diabetes, and smoking."

Researchers compared 1,101 people 15 to 49 years old in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C. area who had strokes in 1991-2008 to 1,154 people of similar ages in the general population. More than a quarter of the people in both groups said they had a history of cocaine use, with men being twice as likely as women to report using the drug.

Researchers found:

  • Having a history of cocaine use wasn't associated with ischemic stroke, regardless of a person's gender or ethnicity; however, reported acute use of cocaine in the 24 hours prior to stroke was strongly associated with increased risk of stroke across different ethnicities.
  • Participants were six to seven times more likely to suffer an within 24 hours of cocaine use.
  • This elevated stroke risk seemed similar in Caucasians and African-Americans.

"Cocaine is not only addictive, it can also lead to disability or death from stroke," Cheng said. "With few exceptions, we believe every young stroke patient should be screened for drug abuse at the time of hospital admission.

"Despite the strong associated with acute cocaine use, in our study only about one-third of young stroke patients had toxicology screenings done during hospitalization. We think the percentage of cocaine use could be higher than we've reported."

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Have a brain injury? You may be at higher risk for stroke

Jun 26, 2013

People who have a traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be more likely to have a future stroke, according to research that appears in the June 26, 2013, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neu ...

Young people at higher risk for stroke

Sep 03, 2013

Fifteen percent of the most common type of strokes occur in adolescents and young adults, and more young people are showing risk factors for such strokes, according to a report in the journal Neurology.

Recommended for you

Results of RIBS IV trial reported

16 hours ago

A new clinical trial comparing the use of everolimus-eluting stents (EES) and drug-eluting balloons (DEB) in treating in-stent restenosis (ISR) from drug-eluting stents found that EES provided superior late angiographic results ...

Results of DKCRUSH-VI trial reported

16 hours ago

A new study found that fractional flow reserve (FFR)-guided provisional side branch (SB) stenting of true coronary bifurcation lesions yields similar outcomes to the current standard of care. The DKCRUSH-VI clinical trial ...

Results of IVUS-CTO trial reported at TCT 2014

17 hours ago

A new study found that intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) -guided intervention in patients with chronic total occlusion (CTO) could improve outcomes compared to a conventional angiography-guided approach during percutaneous ...

Results of OCT STEMI trial reported at TCT 2014

17 hours ago

The first randomized trial to examine serial optical coherence tomography (OCT) in primary percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) was reported at the 26th annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics (TCT) scientific ...

INR variability predicts warfarin adverse effects

22 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Unstable anticoagulation predicts warfarin adverse effects regardless of time in therapeutic range, according to a study published online Sept. 2 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Ou ...

User comments