Cirrhosis is the result of liver damage that replaces functioning liver cells with scar tissue. Recent research investigated whether there is a correlative association between cirrhosis and the risk of stroke.
Cirrhosis is the process by which healthy liver cells are replaced with scar tissue. This can be due to liver damage from heavy drinking or from diseases such as hepatitis. Cirrhosis can consequently lead to blood coagulation and clotting, which links it to another major health concern: stroke. However, how cirrhosis affects the risk of stroke is unknown. The authors of a recent study researched the relationship between cirrhosis and the risk of stroke by reviewing and analyzing past data. They published their findings in Journal of the American Medical Association.
Data from a total of 1,618,059 patients of past studies from 2008 to 2014 was included in the analysis. The 15,586 patients that had cirrhosis were more frequently male and had an increased risk of stroke. While subjects without cirrhosis had a 1.11% rate of stroke, patients with cirrhosis suffered an increased rate of stroke at 2.17%.
Of the two main types of stroke to occur, cirrhosis appeared to be most associated with intracerebral hemorrhage, in which vessels in the brain rupture, rather than ischemic stroke associated with blood clots. Cirrhosis caused by various factors such as alcoholism or deterioration in liver function all contributed to an increased risk of stroke. However, mild liver disease did not significantly increase the risk of stroke.
The results show that cirrhosis and the risk of stroke are correlated. More specifically, there is an increased risk of intracerebral hemorrhage in patients with cirrhosis.
Written By: Harin Lee, BSc