Research Article| Volume 29, ISSUE 6, 104799, June 2020

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Acute Psychological Stress is a Trigger for Stroke: A Case-Crossover Study



      Conventional risk factors for stroke that have been identified are mostly chronic diseases that explain much of the variation as to who develops stroke. However, these risk factors do not equip us with the means to predict when an event like stroke will occur. It has been observed that acute events like stroke and coronary heart disease are preceded by episodes of acute stress. The present study was undertaken to determine whether acute psychological stress is a potential triggering factor for the occurrence of stroke.


      In accordance with the case-crossover study design, patients or Legally Authorized Representative (LAR) were asked to report psychological stress during the two-hour hazard period before the event and during the control period, which was the same 2-hour time period the day before the event. Conditional logistic regression was used to compare each person's exposure during the hazard period to their exposure during the control period.


      A total of 151 stroke patients were interviewed. Acute psychological stress was associated with transient increased odds of stroke in the subsequent 2 hours that was 3.4 times higher than the odds during periods with no exposure to these triggers (95% confidence interval 1.55-7.50).


      Acute psychological stress is a potential independent triggering factor for the occurrence of stroke. Further confirmatory studies are required to help corroborate these findings and elucidate the mechanisms underlying this short-term increase in risk.

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