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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Animal models suggest a genetic contribution to cerebral susceptibility to ischemia. Family history of stroke (FHxstroke) is a risk factor for ischemic stroke, but there is significant confounding by heritability of hypertension and other intermediate phenotypes, and it is uncertain whether genetic factors have a direct independent influence on cerebral susceptibility to ischemia in man. METHODS: We related detailed FHxstroke to baseline characteristics and subsequent risk of stroke in 2 population-based incidence studies and a consecutive hospital-referred series of patients with recent transient ischemic attack (TIA). RESULTS: In none of the cohorts or the pooled data (757 patients; 5515 patient years follow-up; 200 ischemic strokes; 126 myocardial infarctions [MIs]) did FHxstroke predict ischemic stroke (odds ratio [OR], 0.87; 95% CI, 0.57 to 1.32). No associations were revealed by analyses stratified by age or hypertension in the proband, FHx(stroke) in parents versus siblings, number of affected relatives, or their age at stroke. FHxstroke was unrelated to presence of ischemic lesions on baseline computed tomography (OR, 0.96; 0.52 to 1.76) or risk of MI during follow-up. There was no bias attributable to any relationship between FHxstroke and risk factor control or medication. CONCLUSIONS: Family history of stroke does not predict risk of ischemic stroke after TIA.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





544 - 546


Aged, Brain Ischemia, Cohort Studies, Disease-Free Survival, Family Health, Female, Humans, Ischemic Attack, Transient, Male, Middle Aged, Myocardial Infarction, Odds Ratio, Phenotype, Prognosis, Risk, Risk Factors, Stroke, Time Factors, Tomography, X-Ray Computed