A new study has found that older adults who are suffering from cirrhosis are at an increased risk of stroke, especially hemorrhagic. Cirrhosis is a condition of chronic liver damage from a variety of causes leading to scarring and liver failure. The study showed that the incidence of stroke was 2.17 per cent per year in patients with cirrhosis and 1.11 per cent per year in patients without cirrhosis. Neal S. Parikh, from the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York said,”Cirrhosis is associated with extrahepatic hemorrhagic and thrombotic processes, such as gastrointestinal bleeding and venous thromboembolism. The cerebrovascular complications of cirrhosis are comparatively less well understood.” The association between cirrhosis and increased risk of stroke, may include mixed coagulopathy — impaired clotting — caused by patients’ underlying vascular risk factors that may be further heightened by cirrhosis. In addition, the underlying causes of cirrhosis such as alcohol abuse, hepatitis C infection and metabolic diseases may also contribute to stroke risk. Parikh said,”We found that patients with cirrhosis faced an increased risk of stroke after adjustment for patient demographic characteristics, traditional stroke risk factors, and relevant comorbidities.” He added,”Cirrhosis appeared to be more strongly associated with hemorrhagic stroke than ischemic stroke. Similar associations were seen regardless of cirrhosis type, although decompensated cirrhosis (or liver failure) appeared to have the strongest association with stroke.” For the study, the team included more than 1.6 million Medicare beneficiaries, older than 66.

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