Although there are several extensive studies on stroke risks and prevention, stroke has remained one of the top ten causes of death in Taiwan for many years. The key factor is a lack of an effective and non-invasive screening tool for stroke risk. The arterial stiffness index (ASI), which measures artery distensibility and is correlated with arthrosclerosis, is gaining popularity nowadays for stroke risk assessment. In our study, we investigated the relationship between stroke and ASI as well as other noninvasive screening tools such as the ankle brachial index (ABI) and arterial wave pattern. This community-based prospective study was conducted between August 2005 and June 2006. The control group consisted of 629 volunteer adults above 30 years of age living in the northern Taipei area. The stroke group consisted of 266 newly diagnosed stroke patients. Participants completed a structured questionnaire, and blood samples were collected. In addition, a validated oscillometric automated digital blood pressure device was used to measure the participant's ASI, ABI and arterial wave pattern. The odds ratio was then computed to evaluate the association between each factor and stroke. Our study showed that abnormal ASI (ASI <70) was associated with a six times higher risk of stroke. Even after adjustment, the adjusted odds ratio was still 1.8. We also found a significant association between stroke and both ABI and arterial wave pattern (odds ratios, 2.15 and 2.98, respectively). In addition, when we employed ASI and arterial wave pattern together, the adjusted odds ratio for stroke was 1.87. The odds ratio increased significantly to 10.53 when all three factors were taken into consideration. Our study showed that ASI, arterial wave pattern and ABI are correlated with stroke risk. In addition, when all these factors are taken into consideration, they create a synergistic effect in evaluating the risk of stroke risk.
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