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Risk factors, etiology, and outcome of first-ever ischemic stroke in young adults aged 15 to 45 – the Athens young stroke registry


K. Spengos, Eginition Hospital – Vas. Sofias 72, 11528 Athens, Greece (tel.: +302107289290; fax: +302107214676; e-mail:


Background and purpose:  Data regarding stroke in young adults from Greece is scarce. We aimed to evaluate risk factors, etiology, and outcome in a hospital-based prospective observational study.

Methods:  Data from a series of 253 first-ever ischemic stroke patients aged 15–45 were collected over 10 years. Stroke etiology was classified according to the Trial of Org 10172 in Acute Stroke Treatment criteria. Comparisons were done between groups stratified by gender and age. The probability of death or composite vascular events during follow-up was estimated by the Kaplan–Meier method. We used Multivariate Cox proportional hazard analyses to determine the effect of different factors on mortality and occurrence of composite cardiovascular events.

Results:  Although male patients predominate in our cohort (ratio 1.3:1), females outnumber males significantly at ages under 30. Smoking (59.3%) and dyslipidemia (41.1%) were the most frequent risk factors. Small vessel disease was identified as cause of stroke in 17.4%, whereas cardioembolism caused 13.4% of all strokes. No definite etiology was found in 33.6%, whereas other causes of stroke, including dissection (6.7%), were documented in 26.5%. The probability of 10-year survival was 86.3% (95%CI: 79.1–93.6). The corresponding probability of composite vascular events was 30.4% (95%CI: 19.6–41.2). Stroke severity and heart failure were the main predictors of mortality. At the end of the follow-up period, most patients (92.7% of survivors) were independent.

Conclusion:  There are gender- and age-related differences regarding risk factors and causes of ischemic stroke in young patients. Survival and long-term outcome is generally favorable.

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