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BMJ 2005; 331 doi: (Published 15 December 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1427
  1. Alison Tonks (, associate editor

    The month after a heart attack is a high risk period for stroke

    Between 1979 and 1998, 2160 residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, had their first heart attack. In the month afterwards, 2.3% of them also had a stroke. That's a stroke rate of 22.6 per 1000 person-months, 44 times higher than the expected rate for residents of Olmsted County. The risk of stroke fell dramatically during the second month after a heart attack but remained two to three times higher than that for the general population for about three years.

    Credit: ANN INTERN MED

    These findings, from a study linking discharge data from local hospitals with the Rochester Stroke Register, also show the devastating impact of a stroke on survival. Regardless of age, sex, or severity of heart failure, people who had a stroke were nearly three times more likely to die in the first year after their heart attack than those who didn't (relative risk 2.89, 95% …

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