The study included 307 patients with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) -- a stroke caused by a blood vessel bursting inside the brain. Of the 75 patients 49-years-old or younger, 20 percent had drugs in their system.
"The dominant drug of abuse was cocaine, long recognized as a risk factor for ICH," said Michael Hoffmann, MD, lead author of the study and director of the stroke program at the University of South Florida-Tampa General Hospital. "Marijuana was another frequently abused drug and is beginning to emerge as a risk factor for stroke. Amphetamines also were commonly abused."
How these drugs make brain blood vessels prone to rupture is not clear, but is being studied, Dr. Hoffmann said.
The study analyzed the causes and outcomes of ICH patients. Twenty-four percent of ICH patients in a registry at Tampa General Hospital were ages 18 to 49. Half were women, about two thirds were Caucasian, 15 percent were black and 12 percent were Hispanic.
ICH is often linked with high blood pressure in people over age 50, and in this study, 57 percent of those age 50 and older had it. Only 33 percent of ICH patients ages 18 to 49 had high blood pressure.
Of the younger patients in the study, 41 percent had malformed blood vessels, known as arteriovenous malformations, aneurysms or other vascular disorders. Cerebral arteriovenous malformation occurs when blood vessels in the brain develop in an abnormal tangle in which the arteries connect directly to the veins without the normal capillaries between them. A cerebral aneurysm is the bulging of the wall of an artery in the brain. Both these conditions weaken blood vessels and incre
Contact: Anne DeLotto Baier
University of South Florida Health