Cholesterol level and symptomatic hemorrhagic transformation after ischemic stroke thrombolysis

Neurology. 2007 Mar 6;68(10):737-42. doi: 10.1212/01.wnl.0000252799.64165.d5. Epub 2006 Dec 20.


Background: Prestroke statin use may improve ischemic stroke outcomes, yet there is also evidence that statins and extremely low cholesterol levels may increase the risk of intracranial hemorrhage. We evaluated the independent effect of statin use and admission cholesterol level on risk of symptomatic hemorrhagic transformation (sHT) after recanalization therapy for acute ischemic stroke.

Methods: We analyzed ischemic stroke patients recorded in a prospectively maintained registry that received recanalization therapies (IV or intra-arterial fibrinolysis or endovascular embolectomy) at a university medical center from September 2002 to May 2006. The independent effect of premorbid statin use on sHT post intervention was evaluated by logistic regression, adjusting for prognostic and treatment variables known to predict increased HT risk after ischemic stroke.

Results: Among 104 patients, mean age was 70 years, and 49% were men. Male sex, hypertension, statin use, low total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, current smoking, elevated glucose levels, and higher admission NIH Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score were all associated with a greater risk of sHT in univariate analysis. After adjusting for covariates, low LDL cholesterol (odds ratio [OR], 0.968 per 1-mg/dL increase; 95% CI, 0.941 to 0.995), current smoking (OR, 14.568; 95% CI, 1.590 to 133.493), and higher NIHSS score (OR, 1.265 per 1-point increase; 95% CI, 1.047 to 1.529) were independently associated with sHT risk.

Conclusions: Lower admission low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level with or without statin use, current smoking, and greater stroke severity are associated with greater risk for symptomatic hemorrhagic transformation after recanalization therapy for ischemic stroke.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Glucose
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / chemically induced*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / metabolism*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Smoking
  • Stroke / drug therapy*
  • Stroke / epidemiology
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Thrombolytic Therapy / methods


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol