Triglycerides and risk of hemorrhagic stroke vs. ischemic vascular events: The Three-City Study

Atherosclerosis. 2010 May;210(1):243-8. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2009.10.043. Epub 2009 Nov 10.


Background: Few studies have assessed the relationship between triglycerides and the risk of hemorrhagic stroke, which contrasts the considerable number of studies about triglycerides and ischemic vascular events. We analyzed the association pattern between triglycerides and incident intracerebral hemorrhage as compared with coronary events and ischemic stroke, in a large cohort of elderly.

Methods: Population-based, prospective cohort study among 8393 men and women participating in the Three-City Study, aged > or = 65 years at baseline. Fasting blood lipids, including triglycerides, were measured at baseline. Fatal and non-fatal strokes and coronary events were adjudicated and validated by scientific committees. Cox proportional hazards models were used to adjust for potential confounders.

Results: During a mean follow-up of 5.0 years, 36 hemorrhagic strokes, 143 ischemic strokes, and 393 coronary events occurred. An increased level of triglycerides was associated with an increased risk of ischemic vascular events. Conversely, a low level of triglycerides (< or = 0.94 mmol/L) was associated with an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke (adjusted hazard ratio 2.35; 95% confidence interval 1.18-4.70). The relationship with hemorrhagic stroke was mainly apparent in men, in individuals with high blood pressure, and in those with low levels of cholesterol.

Conclusions: In this large cohort of elderly men and women, low triglycerides levels were associated with an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke and a decreased risk of ischemic vascular events. The association between triglycerides and hemorrhagic stroke was particularly strong in men, in subjects with high blood pressure and in those with low cholesterol levels.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Brain Ischemia / blood*
  • Cerebral Hemorrhage / blood*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Coronary Disease / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke / blood*
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Triglycerides