DOI: 10.1161/str.55.suppl_1.wp277 ISSN: 0039-2499

Abstract WP277: Stroke Etiology in Young Adults With Substance Abuse

Himanshu Patel, Keyvan Heshmati, Kathleen A Ryan, Karen L Yarbrough, Lakeisha M Mixon, Devin E Williams, Steven J Kittner, Carolyn A Cronin
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Neurology (clinical)

Introduction: Recent public health trends suggest increasing rates of substance abuse among young people. Substance use has been associated with an increased risk of stroke, and specifically, cocaine use is known to more likely cause lacunar and cardioembolic strokes. However, less is known about the stroke etiology with other substances.

Methods: We conducted a retrospective review of stroke patients between the ages of 18 to 50 years presenting to our Young Stroke Center between April 2022 through August 2023. For each case, data including basic demographics and medical history were collected, and stroke etiology was determined by a vascular neurologist. Patients with substance use at the time of stroke were compared to all non-substance use related stroke and analyzed with respect to TOAST stroke etiology. Substance use was defined as use of opioids, cocaine, marijuana, or alcohol abuse. Analysis was performed with logistic regression adjusting for age, sex, and race.

Results: Of 187 patients in the registry, 25 patients had substance use at time of stroke compared with 162 patients with non-substance use related stroke. There were 10 marijuana, 4 opioid, 0 cocaine, 3 alcohol abuse and 8 polysubstance use (including 3 cocaine) cases. There were no significant differences in age at time of stroke (36.9 ± 7.1 vs. 38.8 ± 8.2 years) and race (50.0% vs. 53.4% Black) between substance use and non-substance use related stroke groups, respectively. There was a significantly higher proportion of males with substance use (62.5% vs. 31.9% male; OR [95% CI]: 4.0 [1.6-10.0]). In the substance use group, a higher proportion had cardioembolic stroke etiology (20.8% vs. 9.2%; OR [95% CI]: 4.1 [1.2-14.0]); however, there was no significant difference with respect to the other TOAST stroke etiologies. In patients with active substance use and cardioembolic stroke etiology, heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and atrial fibrillation were the etiologies found.

Conclusion: Our findings indicate that among young individuals with active substance use at the time of their stroke, cardioembolic etiology appears to be more likely than in young stroke patients without substance use. This underscores the need for comprehensive cardiac evaluation in this population.

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