Background: There are limited data on the relationship between control of vascular risk factors and vascular events in patients with symptomatic intracranial arterial stenosis.
Methods: We utilized the Warfarin Aspirin Symptomatic Intracranial Disease study database to analyze vascular and lifestyle risk factors at baseline and averaged over the course of the trial. Cutoff levels defining good control for each factor were prespecified based on national guidelines. Endpoints evaluated included 1) ischemic stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death or 2) ischemic stroke alone. Univariate associations were assessed using the log-rank test and multivariable analysis was done using Cox proportional hazards regression.
Results: From baseline until year 2 follow-up, there was not a significant improvement in blood pressure control. During the same period, there were improvements in patients with total cholesterol <200 mg/dL (54.6% to 79.2%, p < 0.001) or low-density lipoprotein <100 mg/dL (28.7% to 55.9%, p < 0.001). Multivariable analysis showed that systolic blood pressure >or=140 mm Hg (HR = 1.79, p = 0.0009, 95% confidence limits 1.27 to 2.52), no alcohol consumption (HR 1.69, 1.21 to 2.39, p = 0.002), and cholesterol >or=200 mg/dL (HR 1.44, 1.004 to 2.07, p = 0.048) were associated with an increased risk of stroke, myocardial infarction, or vascular death. The same risk factors were predictors of ischemic stroke alone in multivariable analysis.
Conclusions: Elevated blood pressure and cholesterol levels in symptomatic patients with intracranial stenosis are associated with an increased risk of stroke and other major vascular events.