ASA: Opioid Epidemic Tied to Infection-Related Stroke

Number of hospitalizations steady in 1993 to 2008, but increased significantly in 2008 to 2015

TUESDAY, Feb. 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- The opioid epidemic is driving a steep increase in infection-related stroke hospitalizations, according to a study published online Jan. 30 in Stroke to coincide with the American Stroke Association International Stroke Conference, held from Feb. 6 to 8 in Honolulu.

Setareh Salehi Omran, M.D., from Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City, and colleagues used data from the National Inpatient Sample (1993 to 2015) to identify hospitalizations with the combination of opioid abuse, infective endocarditis, and stroke (ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, or subarachnoid hemorrhage).

The researchers identified 5,283 hospitalizations with stroke associated with infective endocarditis and opioid use. During the study period, the rate of these hospitalizations increased from 2.4 to 18.8 per 10 million U.S. residents. No significant change in the hospitalization rate was seen from 1993 to 2008 (annual percentage change, 1.9 percent), but then rates significantly increased from 2008 to 2015 (annual percentage change, 20.3 percent). This increase was most dramatic in non-Hispanic white patients in the Northeastern and Southern United States.

"Our findings add to the urgency of addressing the underlying opioid epidemic in the United States and suggest that people need to be more aware that stroke can be a devastating complication of injecting opioids," Omran said in a statement.

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