Cirrhosis is associated with hemorrhagic and thrombotic extrahepatic complications. The risk of cerebrovascular complications is less well understood.Objective
To investigate the association between cirrhosis and various stroke types.Design, Setting, and Participants
We performed a retrospective cohort study using inpatient and outpatient Medicare claims data from January 1, 2008, through December 31, 2014, for a random 5% sample of 1 618 059 Medicare beneficiaries older than 66 years.Exposures
Cirrhosis, as defined by a validated diagnosis code algorithm.Main Outcomes and Measures
The primary outcome was stroke, and secondary outcomes were ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, and subarachnoid hemorrhage as defined by validated diagnosis code algorithms.Results
Among 1 618 059 beneficiaries, 15 586 patients (1.0%) had cirrhosis (mean [SD] age, 74.1 [6.9] years; 7263 [46.6%] female). During a mean (SD) of 4.3 (1.9) years of follow-up, 77 268 patients were hospitalized with a stroke. The incidence of stroke was 2.17% (95% CI, 1.99%-2.36%) per year in patients with cirrhosis and 1.11% (95% CI, 1.10%-1.11%) per year in patients without cirrhosis. After adjustment for demographic characteristics and stroke risk factors, patients with cirrhosis had a higher risk of stroke (hazard ratio [HR], 1.4; 95% CI, 1.3-1.5). The magnitude of association appeared to be higher for intracerebral hemorrhage (HR, 1.9; 95% CI, 1.5-2.4) and subarachnoid hemorrhage (HR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.7-3.5) than for ischemic stroke (HR, 1.3; 95% CI, 1.2-1.5).Conclusions and Relevance
In a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries, cirrhosis was associated with an increased risk of stroke, particularly hemorrhagic stroke. A potential explanation of these findings implicates the mixed coagulopathy observed in cirrhosis.