According to research presented at the American Stroke Association’s 2014 International Stroke Conference, injury to the head or neck elevates the risk for ischemic stroke three-fold among trauma patients younger than age 50 years. A news release from the American Heart Association notes that during the study, researchers studied the health records of 1.3 million patients younger than age 50 years who had been treated in emergency trauma rooms.

The results indicate that about 11 of every 100,000 patients sustained a stroke within 4 weeks. The researchers explain that since it is reported that 2 million patients are seen in US trauma rooms, this indicates 214 young people a month have an ischemic stroke following a trauma.

The release notes that results also suggest that 48 in 100,000 young adults and 11 of 100,000 children who had a head or neck injury sustained a stroke. Additionally, patients with stroke were an average age of 37 years old and patients who did not have a stroke were an average age of 24 years old.

Researchers state that one cause of stroke post-trauma stems from a tear in the head or neck blood vessels leading to the brain. In the study, a total of 10% of stroke patients were diagnosed with this kind of tear, however not all patients were diagnosed with the tear prior to stroke.

Christine Fox, MD, MAS, lead author and assistant professor of neurology at the University of California San Francisco, emphasizes the importance of the study’s findings, “Because strokes after trauma might be preventable.”

Fox adds that one of the next steps in the study will center on measuring stroke incidence after different types of trauma, such as car collisions, and injuries, such as vertebral fractures, in order to pinpoint which patients may be at a higher risk of stroke.

Source(s): Medical News Today, American Heart Association