Original Article| Volume 23, ISSUE 1, e47-e53, January 2014

High Cholesterol Levels Are Associated with Improved Long-term Survival after Acute Ischemic Stroke


      Prior statin treatment and high admission cholesterol have been associated with favorable outcome after ischemic stroke (IS), a paradox not completely explained. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of admission cholesterol levels and the impact of statin treatment on short- and long-term survival after IS.


      Consecutive patients admitted in 2006 and 2010 were included in the study. Total cholesterol of 4.6 mmol/L or more was defined as high. Logistic regression analysis was performed to assess predictors of 1-month mortality, and Cox proportional hazard regression analysis was applied to investigate predictors of long-term mortality.


      Of 190 patients included in the final analysis, 21 (11%) died within 1 month and 61 (32%) died during 7 years of observation. Low cholesterol was associated with older age, lower blood pressure (BP), presence of angina, and higher risk of death. Three-month, 1-year, and 5-year survival rates were 100%, 98%, and 84%, respectively, in high cholesterol patients, compared with 92%, 87%, and 57% in low cholesterol group (P = .0001 with the log-rank test). Mortality risk was increased for patients with low cholesterol (hazard ratio: 1.97; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.05-3.69), after adjustment for age and admission National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale score. After further adjustment for angina and admission BP, the effect of cholesterol on mortality risk was still obvious, yet attenuated (hazard ratio: 1.87; 95% CI: .94-3.32).


      High admission cholesterol may be associated with increased long-term survival after IS. Future studies on the temporal profile of cholesterol levels and stroke outcome would be of interest.

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