Clinical Characteristics of Fatal Methamphetamine-related Stroke: A National Study

J Forensic Sci. 2018 May;63(3):735-739. doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.13620. Epub 2017 Aug 17.


The study aimed to determine the clinical characteristics of fatal methamphetamine-related stroke in Australia, 2009-2015. There were 38 cases, 60.5% male, with a mean age of 40.3 years. In no case was there evidence that this was the first time methamphetamine had been used by the decedent, and 52.6% had known histories of injecting drug use. The stroke was hemorrhagic in 37 of 38 cases. In 21.1% of cases, the stroke was purely parenchymal and, in 18.4%, involved purely the subarachnoid space. A ruptured berry aneurysm was present in 31.6% and in 68.8% of initial subarachnoid hemorrhages. There was evidence of systemic hypertension in 8 of 25 cases in which full autopsy findings were available. With increased use of methamphetamine, there is a high probability of increased hemorrhagic stroke incidence among young people. In cases of fatal hemorrhagic stroke among young cases presenting to autopsy, the possibility of methamphetamine use should be borne in mind.

Keywords: forensic science; hemorrhagic; ischemic; methamphetamine; mortality; stroke.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Amphetamine-Related Disorders / complications*
  • Aneurysm, Ruptured / pathology
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Central Nervous System Stimulants / adverse effects*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / pathology
  • Male
  • Methamphetamine / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Distribution
  • Stroke / chemically induced*
  • Stroke / mortality*
  • Subarachnoid Hemorrhage / pathology
  • Young Adult


  • Central Nervous System Stimulants
  • Methamphetamine