To assess the risk of hemorrhagic and ischemic stroke in patients with Alzheimer disease (AD) compared with non-AD controls with similar risk profiles.
A search was conducted on EMBASE and MEDLINE for reports published up to September 26, 2018. Studies were included if they (1) assessed the incidence of stroke in patients diagnosed with AD; (2) included patients with no history of stroke; and (3) reported outcomes by stroke subtype. The main outcome was relative risk of ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke. Furthermore, the rate of stroke occurrence per 1,000 person-years was assessed. A random-effects meta-analysis was undertaken. The risk of bias in included studies was assessed in terms of selection, comparability, and outcome.
A total of 3,605 studies were screened in the title and abstract phase after removing duplicates, and 88 eligible studies were screened for full text. Eight studies met the inclusion criteria representing 121,719 individuals (AD = 73,044; non-AD = 48,675). Five studies were included in the relative risk analysis, among which 4 studies applied formal matching criteria of 44,544 AD and 44,660 non-AD controls. The included studies were based on nationwide registries from Finland, Sweden, Taiwan (2), United Kingdom (2), 1 clinic-based study from the Netherlands, and 1 US population–based cohort. Among patients with AD, the incidence rate of hemorrhagic stroke was 3.41/1000 person-years (95% CI 2.70–4.32) and 2.23 (95% CI 1.72–2.88) among AD cases and non-AD controls, respectively. This is in contrast to 13.98 (95% CI 9.86–19.81) and 12.12 (95% CI 7.55–19.46) for ischemic stroke among AD cases and non-AD controls, respectively. Compared with non-AD controls with similar risk profiles, patients with AD had a relative risk of 1.42 (95% CI 1.23–1.64) for hemorrhagic stroke and 1.15 (95% CI 0.89–1.48) for ischemic stroke.
Compared with non-AD controls with similar risk profiles, patients with AD are likely at a higher risk of hemorrhagic but not ischemic stroke.