BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Elevated fibrinogen levels and abnormalities in the fibrinolytic system are related to the occurrence of cardiovascular events. However, the role of these factors in the evolution of cerebrovascular disease has received less attention, in particular in young stroke patients. The aim of this study was to evaluate possible abnormalities in plasma fibrinogen levels and the state of the fibrinolytic system in young adults with a first-ever ischemic stroke.
METHODS: This study is based on 102 consecutive patients aged 18 to 44 years admitted between January 1991 and May 1996 as a result of a first ischemic stroke. Forty-one healthy controls were recruited. Evaluations of anthropometric/metabolic variables, plasma fibrinogen levels, and the fibrinolytic system were undertaken >/=3 months (mean, 5.4+/-2.0 months) after admission.
RESULTS: Patients had lower tissue plasminogen activator activity and increased plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 activity at baseline, as well as increased tissue plasminogen activator mass concentration both at baseline and after a venous occlusion test. Overall, there were no significant differences between the main etiologic subgroups regarding plasma fibrinogen levels and fibrinolytic variables. Baseline fibrinolytic variables were strongly correlated with body mass index, serum triglycerides, and cholesterol levels. After adjustments in multivariate models, fibrinogen levels and tissue plasminogen activator mass concentration both at baseline and after venous occlusion test remained significantly increased in patients. Logistic multiple regression analyses indicated that plasma fibrinogen was a strong predictor of ischemic stroke (odds ratio, 11.25; 95% CI, 3.27 to 38. 69).
CONCLUSIONS: Increased fibrinogen levels and tissue plasminogen activator mass concentration are independently associated with ischemic stroke in young adults. Metabolic perturbations are closely interrelated with aberrations in tissue plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor type 1 activity in these patients, findings consistent with an acquired hypofibrinolysis.
1998. Vol. 29, no 11, 2261-7 p.