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Low triglyceride levels are associated with more severe stroke
  NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Lower serum triglyceride levels are associated with increased stroke severity, according to results of a study published in the June issue of Stroke.
A previous study had linked low triglycerides with higher mortality after stroke. In the current retrospective study, Dr. Tomasz Dziedzic and colleagues from Jagiellonian University, in Krakow, Poland, studied 863 consecutive patients with acute ischemic stroke.
The team measured serum triglyceride levels within 36 hours after stroke onset, and used the Scandinavian Stroke Scale (SSS) to assess stroke severity on admission.
The patients were put into one of two groups: those with severe stroke (SSS 25 or less) and those with mild/moderate stroke (SSS higher than 25). Compared to patients with mild/moderate stroke, those with severe stroke were significantly older, more often had ischemic heart disease and atrial fibrillation, and had significantly lower levels of serum triglyceride (1.7 mmol/L versus 1.4 mmol/L, respectively).
After adjusting for age, sex, atrial fibrillation, diabetes, obesity, and ischemic heart disease, the risk of severe stroke was lower in patients with triglyceride levels higher than 2.3 mmol/L compared to those with levels less than 2.3 mmol/L (odds ratio 0.58).
The researchers note that the biological mechanisms responsible for this association remain unknown. While low triglyceride levels can reflect poor nutritional status, they note, malnutrition does not explain stroke severity on admission.
"Therefore, we believe that alternative explanations focusing on potentially neuroprotective properties of cholesterol should be considered," Dr. Dziedzic and colleagues conclude.
Stroke 2004;35:e151-e152.


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