Friday, 17 February 2006 00:00

Drug Abuse Raises Brain Hemorrhage Risk

FRIDAY, Feb. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Drug abuse could help trigger brain hemorrhage in young people, according to a study that found 20 percent of young adults who suffered burst blood vessels in the brain had abused drugs.

The study of 307 patients with intracerebral hemorrhage at a hospital emergency department found that a fifth of the 75 patients who were 49 years old or younger had drugs in their system.

"The dominant drug of abuse was cocaine, long recognized as a risk factor for intracerebral hemorrhage. Marijuana was another frequently abused drug, and is beginning to emerge as a risk factor for stroke. Amphetamines also were commonly abused," study author Dr. Michael Hoffman, director of the stroke program at Tampa General Hospital-University of South Florida, said in a prepared statement.

Intracerebral hemorrhage is often linked with high blood pressure in people over age 50. In this study, 57 percent of patients aged 50 and older had high blood pressure, compared with 33 percent of patients aged 18 to 49. Of the younger patients, 41 percent had malformed blood vessels in the brain, which increases the risk of a bleeding stroke.

The 30-day death rate for younger patients was 14.6 percent, compared with 21 percent for older patients.

"Intensive neurocritical care is the key to a successful outcome. Good medical care can salvage a high quality of life after a stroke," Hoffman said.

The study was presented Friday at the American Stroke Association's annual stroke conference, in Kissammee, Fla.

More information

Washington University School of Medicine has more about intracerebral hemorrhage.