Lacunar Infarcts and Intracerebral Hemorrhage Differences: A Nested Case–Control Analysis in the FHS (Framingham Heart Study)

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Background and Purpose—

Lacunar stroke (LS) and intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) are 2 diverse manifestations of small vessel disease. What predisposes some patients to ischemic stroke and others to hemorrhage is not well understood.


We performed a nested case–control study within the FHS (Framingham Heart Study) comparing people with incident ICH and lacunar ischemic stroke, to age- and sex-matched controls for baseline prevalence and levels of cardiovascular risk factors.


We identified 118 LS (mean age 74 years, 51% male) and 108 ICH (75 years, 46% male) events. Hypertension, diabetes mellitus, smoking, and obesity were strongly associated with LS. Hypertension, but not diabetes mellitus, smoking, or cholesterol levels increased the odds of ICH. Contrary to LS, ICH cases had lower body mass index (BMI) than their controls (26 versus 27); BMI <20 was associated with 4-fold higher odds for ICH. In direct comparison, LS cases had higher BMI (28 versus 26) and obesity prevalence (odds ratio, 3.1); BMI <20 was associated with significantly lower odds of LS (odds ratio, 0.1).


LS and ICH share hypertension, but not diabetes mellitus, as a common risk factor. ICH cases had lower BMI compared with not only LS but their controls as well; this finding is unexplained and merits further exploration.

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