The Evidence Linking Smoking Cessation to Reduced Stroke Risk
Neurology Today: October 5, 2017 - Volume 17 - Issue 19 - p 1,33–39
ARTICLE IN BRIEF
In a study showing the impact of smoking on ischemic stroke, researchers reported that the five-year risk for stroke was 22 percent in patients who continued to smoke compared with 15.7 percent in people who quit, a 34 percent relative risk reduction. The study was one of the first to focus rigorously on the association between smoking cessation and secondary stroke.
Cigarette smoking cessation has been reported to be key to reducing the risk of vascular disease and death after ischemic stroke, but until now, scientists have not examined the association with rigorous methods.
Now, a research team from Yale University School of Medicine was able to analyze data from 3,876 non-diabetic patients enrolled in the Insulin Resistance Intervention after Stroke (IRIS) study to do just that.
“We were quite surprised how little research had been done in this area,” said senior investigator Walter N. Kernan, MD, professor of medicine at Yale School of Medicine. “The IRIS protocol included high-quality baseline data on smoking and complete follow-up data on vascular outcomes and death. We were able to use this data to estimate the health benefits of smoking cessation in the high-risk population of patients with symptomatic cerebrovascular disease.”
The investigators, led by first author Katherine Epstein, a fourth-year medical student, compared rates of the composite outcome of stroke, myocardial infarction (MI), or death over five years among patients with a recent ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) who continued to smoke and patients who quit.
The scientists reported that the five-year risk for stroke was 22 percent in patients who continued to smoke compared with 15.7 percent in people who quit, a 34 percent relative risk reduction. The results were published in the September 8 online edition of Neurology.