CDC: Hypertension in Children, Young Adults Contributing to Increase in Ischemic Strokes

The CDC found that the rate of hospitalizations for ischemic strokes in children and young adults has increased, as well as risk factors such as hypertension.

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that the rate of hospitalizations for ischemic strokes in children and young adults increased between the years of 1995 and 2008. The study also discovered that risk factors for stroke—such as hypertension, diabetes, and alcohol use—increased in this age group.

Mary G. George, MD, a medical officer at Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention at the CDC, and her fellow researchers examined hospital discharge data from 1995 to 2008 from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample (INS), the largest all-payor hospital inpatient care database in the United States. The patients whose data was assessed were between the ages of five and 44 years old.

Risk factor prevalence was estimated through ICD-9-CM codes. The authors reported that almost one third of the patients who experienced ischemic stroke between ages of 15 and 34, as well as over 50% of those between 35 and 44 years old, suffered from hypertension.

Utilizing ICD-9-CM codes to identify diagnoses of subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH), intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), and ischemic stroke hospitalizations, the researchers found that the rate of ischemic stroke hospitalizations in children and young adults rose significantly during the study period.

Hospitalization rates of ischemic stroke hospitalizations:

  • Rose up to 37% during the study period in patients who were between the ages of 15 and 44 years old.
  • Increased by 51.6% in boys aged between five and 14, 45.6% in males 15 to 34 years old, and 50.4% in males ages 35 to 44.
  • Smaller increases were also noted in females between 15 and 34 years old, as well as females between 35 and 44.

“Rates of traditional risk factors for stroke among children and young adults are increasing, and smoking rates have failed to decline,” the authors wrote. “We identified increases in ischemic stroke hospitalizations associated with increases in these traditional risk factors among adolescents and young adults.”

George and fellow colleagues pointed out that the study could only identify the prevalence of risk factors, not the cause of stroke. They continued to state while the morbidity of stroke in a younger population were found to be on the rise great, they are potentially avoidable.

“Our results from national surveillance data accentuate the need for public health initiatives to reduce the prevalence of risk factors for stroke among adolescents and young adults,” George concluded.

Results were published in the September issue of the Annals of Neurology.