Cause-specific mortality after first cerebral infarction: A population-based study

Steven Vernino, Robert D. Brown, James J. Sejvar, Jo Rean D. Sicks, George W. Petty, Michael W. O'Fallon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose - Mortality after cerebral infarction (CI) has remained unchanged during the past 20 years, despite advances in neurologic care. Key factors affecting survival may be underrecognized. The purpose of this study was to determine the rate and cause of mortality after first CI. Methods - In this case-control, population-based study, all available medical records were reviewed for Rochester (Minnesota) residents with a first CI between 1985 and 1989 to identify morbidities and cause of death. Predictors for mortality were analyzed. Results - First CI was recorded for 444 patients. Survival was 83% at 1 month, 71% at 1 year, and 46% at 5 years. The most frequent causes of death were cardiovascular events (22%), respiratory infection (21%), and initial stroke complications (14%). Recurrent stroke and cancer accounted for 9% and 7.5% of deaths, respectively. In the first month after CI, 51% of deaths were attributed to the initial CI, 22% to respiratory infections, and 12% to cardiovascular events. During the first year. 26% of deaths resulted from respiratory infections and 28% from cardiovascular disease. Mortality was higher among patients than controls for at least 2 years after CI. Age, cardiac comorbid conditions, CI severity, stroke recurrence, seizures, and respiratory and cardiovascular morbidities were independent predictors of death. Conclusions - In the first month after CI, mortality resulted predominantly from neurologic complications. Later mortality remained high because of respiratory and cardiovascular causes. To improve long-term survival after CI, aggressive management of pulmonary and cardiac disease is as important as secondary stroke prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1828-1832
Number of pages5
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003


  • Cerebral infarction
  • Epidemiology
  • Heart disease
  • Mortality
  • Pneumonia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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