Traumatic brain injuries can increase risk of stroke for up to five years

New research has analysed the risk of stroke for patients with traumatic brain injuries.

Funded by the National Institute for Health Research’s Surgical Reconstruction and Microbiology Research Centre based at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, the research showed that TBI patients have an 86% increased risk of stroke compared to patients who have not experienced a TBI. Stroke risk may be at its highest in the first four months post-injury, but remains significant for up to five years, according to the review.

Significantly, the findings suggest that TBI is a risk factor for stroke regardless of the severity or subtype of the injury. This is particularly noteworthy because 70% to 90% of TBI’s are mild and suggests that TBI’s should be considered a chronic condition even if it is mild and patients recover well.

The new research brings together 18 studies from four countries and is the first of its kind to investigate post-injury stroke risk.

Researchers also found that the use of anti-coagulants, such as VKAs and statins, could help to reduce stroke risk post-TBI, while the use of some classes of anti-depressants are associated with increased stroke risk post-TBI.