This study evaluated the association between ischaemic stroke (IS) and heart failure (HF) in the absence of atrial fibrillation (AF) or atrial flutter (AFL) using a population-based nation-wide cohort database.
Newly diagnosed patients with HF without previous stroke and acute myocardial infarction (AMI) were enrolled. Based on the propensity scores matching age, sex and all comorbidities, our studies comprised 12 179 patients with HF and 12 179 patients without HF. Cox proportion hazard regression models and competing-risk regression models were used to evaluate the risk of IS among patients with HF without AF or AFL.
In the multivariable analysis, older age (adjusted HR (95% CI)=1.05 (1.04 to 1.05)), male sex (adjusted HR (95% CI)=1.36 (1.24 to 1.50)), diabetes (adjusted HR (95% CI)=2.22 (1.97 to 2.49)) and hypertension (adjusted HR (95% CI)=1.60 (1.41 to 1.82)) were markedly associated with IS in patients with HF. The HF group had a markedly higher risk of IS than did the non-HF group (subdistribution HR (SHR)=1.51, 95% CI: 1.37 to 1.66) and AMI (SHR=3.40, 95% CI: 2.71 to 4.28). Additionally, according to the Kaplan-Meier analysis, patients with HF were at a significantly higher risk of cumulative incidence of IS and AMI than did patients with non-HF (p value of log-rank test <0.001).
This study indicated that HF is a strong independent risk factor for IS, even in the absence of AF or AFL. Clinical physicians should investigate IS through routine screening and careful monitoring of patients with HF.