Background: Stroke is an important cause of death among blacks, and intracerebral and subarachnoid hemorrhages account for nearly half of all early deaths from stroke. The present study investigates whether blacks and whites differ in their risk of having either intracerebral or subarachnoid hemorrhage.
Methods: We reviewed the medical records, autopsy reports, and CT scans of all patients suspected of having had an intracerebral or subarachnoid hemorrhage during 1988 among the nearly 1.3 million people in the Greater Cincinnati metropolitan area.
Results: There were 221 cases of first spontaneous intracranial hemorrhage among 1,086,462 whites (159 intracerebral and 62 subarachnoid hemorrhages), and 45 cases among 171,718 blacks (27 intracerebral and 18 subarachnoid hemorrhages). Blacks had 2.1 times the risk of subarachnoid hemorrhage of whites (95 percent confidence interval, 1.3 to 3.6) and 1.4 times the risk of intracerebral hemorrhage (95 percent confidence interval, 0.9 to 2.1). In those under the age of 75, the risk of intracerebral hemorrhage among blacks was 2.3 times that of whites (95 percent confidence interval, 1.5 to 3.6), whereas the risk among blacks 75 or older was one fourth that of whites (95 percent confidence interval, 0.1 to 0.8). Deaths within 30 days of intracerebral or subarachnoid hemorrhage accounted for 1.9 years of life lost per 1000 blacks under 65 years of age, as compared with 0.5 year per 1000 whites.
Conclusions: Young and middle-aged blacks have a substantially higher risk of subarachnoid or intracerebral hemorrhage than whites of similar age. These types of stroke are important causes of excess mortality among young and middle-aged blacks.