Objective To determine the relative importance of recognised risk factors for non-haemorrhagic stroke, including serum cholesterol and the effect of cholesterol-lowering therapy, on the occurrence of non-haemorrhagic stroke in patients enrolled in the LIPID (Long-term Intervention with Pravastatin in Ischaemic Disease) study.Design The LIPID study was a placebo-controlled, double-blind trial of the efficacy on coronary heart disease mortality of pravastatin therapy over 6 years in 9014 patients with previous acute coronary syndromes and baseline total cholesterol of 4-7 mmol/l. Following identification of patients who had suffered non-haemorrhagic stroke, a pre-specified secondary end point, multivariate Cox regression was used to determine risk in the total population. Time-to-event analysis was used to determine the effect of pravastatin therapy on the rate of non-haemorrhagic stroke.Results There were 388 non-haemorrhagic strokes in 350 patients. Factors conferring risk of future non-haemorrhagic stroke were age, atrial fibrillation, prior stroke, diabetes, hypertension, systolic blood pressure, cigarette smoking, body mass index, male sex and creatinine clearance. Baseline lipids did not predict non-haemorrhagic stroke. Treatment with pravastatin reduced non-haemorrhagic stroke by 23% (P= 0.016) when considered alone, and 21% (P= 0.024) after adjustment for other risk factors.Conclusions The study confirmed the variety of risk factors for non-haemorrhagic stroke. From the risk predictors, a simple prognostic index was created for nonhaemorrhagic stroke to identify a group of patients at high risk. Treatment with pravastatin resulted in significant additional benefit after allowance for risk factors. (C) 2002 Lippincott Williams Wilkins.