Forty-year Seasonality Trends in Occurrence of Myocardial Infarction, Ischemic Stroke, and Hemorrhagic Stroke

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The occurrence of myocardial infarction (MI), ischemic stroke, and hemorrhagic stroke has decreased in recent years, but trends in seasonal occurrence remain unclear.


Using Danish healthcare databases, we identified all patients with a first-time MI, ischemic stroke, or hemorrhagic stroke during the study period (1977–2016). We summarized monthly cases for each disease separately and computed the peak-to-trough ratio as a measure of seasonal occurrence of one cycle. To examine trends over time in seasonal occurrence, we computed the peak-to-trough ratio for each of the 40 years. We also quantified the amount of bias arising from random error in peak-to-trough ratios.


Before consideration of bias, the peak-to-trough ratio of summarized monthly cases was 1.11 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.10, 1.12) for MI, 1.08 (95% CI = 1.07, 1.09) for ischemic stroke, and 1.12 (95% CI = 1.10, 1.14) for hemorrhagic stroke. The peak-to-trough ratio of MI occurrence increased from 1.09 (95% CI = 1.04, 1.15) in 1977 to 1.16 (95% CI = 1.09, 1.23) in 1999. The trend then remained stable. The peak-to-trough ratio of ischemic stroke occurrence declined continuously during the study period, dropping from 1.12 (95% CI = 1.02, 1.24) in 1977 to 1.06 (95% CI = 1.00, 1.12) in 2016. The peak-to-trough ratio of hemorrhagic stroke occurrence remained stable over time. However, after adjusting for potential bias, time trends in peak-to-trough ratios were almost flat.


We found no substantial seasonality for MI, ischemic stroke, or hemorrhagic stroke occurrence during 1977−2016. Modest peak-to-trough ratios should be interpreted after considering bias induced by random variation.

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