PURPOSE: People with cardiac disease have 2-4 times greater risk of stroke than the general population. We measured stroke incidence in people with coronary heart disease (CHD), atrial fibrillation (AF) or valvular heart disease (VHD).
METHODS: We used a person-linked hospitalization/mortality dataset to identify all people hospitalized with CHD, AF or VHD (1985-2017), and stratified them as pre-existing (hospitalized 1985-2012 and alive at October 31, 2012) or new (first-ever cardiac hospitalization in the five-year study period, 2012-2017). We identified first-ever strokes occurring from 2012 to 2017 in patients aged 20-94 years and calculated age-specific and age-standardized rates (ASR) for each cardiac cohort.
RESULTS: Of the 175,560 people in the cohort, most had CHD (69.9%); 16.3% had multiple cardiac conditions. From 2012-17, 5871 first-ever strokes occurred. ASRs were greater in females than males in single and multiple condition cardiac groups, largely driven by rates in females aged ≥75 years, with stroke incidence in this age group being at least 20% greater in females than males in each cardiac subgroup. In females aged 20-54 years, stroke incidence was 4.9-fold greater in those with multiple versus single cardiac conditions. This differential declined with increasing age. Non-fatal stroke incidence was greater than fatal stroke in all age groups except in the 85-94 age group. Incidence rate ratios were up to 2-fold larger in new versus pre-existing cardiac disease.
CONCLUSION: Stroke incidence in people with cardiac disease is substantial, with older females, and younger patients with multiple cardiac conditions, at elevated risk. These patients should be specifically targeted for evidence-based management to minimize the burden of stroke.