Melbourne (May 2014) - Preliminary findings from the completed INTERSTROKE study presented for the first time at the World Heart Federation's World Congress of Cardiology reported new and important results. INTERSTROKE evaluates the importance of risk factors for stroke and the first phase showed that 10 known risk factors are associated with about 90% of strokes. The new preliminary results confirm these findings in larger patient populations and further to the first phase, demonstrate an overall consistency in the collective importance of these risk factors around the world. This reinforces the fact that action is needed worldwide to control those 10 risk factors - hypertension, lipids, smoking, physical inactivity, abdominal obesity, cardiac causes, diet, alcohol, diabetes mellitus and psychosocial factors. Of these, hypertension is the most important.
INTERSTROKE is the largest international study ever to evaluate the importance of both established and novel risk factors for stroke, which affects millions of people worldwide. Completed in March 2014, the much anticipated study led by Dr Martin O'Donnell (Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University and HRB-Clinical Research Facility, NUI Galway, Ireland) and Dr Salim Yusuf (Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Canada) included over 27,000 patients from 32 countries across the world. It involved an international collaboration of committed stroke physicians cardiologists and researchers, keen to build on the landmark INTERHEART study led by Dr Yusuf, which looked at modifiable risk factors for heart attacks.
"The INTERSTROKE study represents an important resource to progress our understanding of the causes of stroke, both in estimating the contribution of known modifiable risk factors for stroke and in identifying and clarifying the role of new ones, such as genetics," said Dr O'Donnell. "These results are the completion of eight years of work and, on behalf of the INTERSTROKE group, we are delighted to share them with colleagues from around the world in this preliminary analysis. We especially look forward to sharing our full data results later this year and continuing to collaborate with colleagues globally to fight the battle against stroke, which is a leading cause of death and disability worldwide."
Stroke kills nearly six million people per year and is the second leading cause of disability globally after dementia. For more information about stroke, its symptoms and causes go to: www.world-heart-federation.org/cardiovascular-health/stroke
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