Undiagnosed major risk factors found in two-thirds of ischemic stroke patients, new study reveals

(Vienna, Sunday, June 26, 2022) People suffering from ischemic strokes with no previously diagnosed risk factors were found to have underlying conditions in most cases, according to a new study presented today at the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) 2022 has shown.1

Overall, the study identified 67.7% of stroke patients with previously undiagnosed major risk factors (UMRF) with one major risk factor.

Researchers at the Center Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland, analyzed health records of 4,354 stroke patients from the ASTRAL registry from 2003 to 2018, 1,125 of whom had UMRF.

The most common vascular risk factor was dyslipidemia, an imbalance of blood fats such as high cholesterol or elevated triglyceride levels (61.4% of patients). The second most common risk factor was high blood pressure (23.7% of patients) and one in 10 (10.2% of patients) patients had atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes a fast and often irregular heartbeat.

Using multivariate analyses, the study found a positive association between UMRF patients and lower age, non-white ethnicity, contraceptive use in women under 55 years of age, and smoking in patients 55 years of age and older. The study also found negative associations with antiplatelet (blood thinners) use before stroke and a higher Body Mass Index (BMI).

Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot or other blockage cuts off blood flow to the brain and is the most common type of stroke.

Lead author Dr. André Rêgo said the study provides important insights into key risk factors for ischemic stroke.

“Our findings underscore the importance of testing and treating blood fat imbalances, such as high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, as well as blood pressure, and identifying and treating people with atrial fibrillation and type 2 diabetes,” said Dr. rego.

“Prior to our study, there was scant clinical information on the frequency, patient profile and stroke mechanisms in acute ischemic stroke patients with previously undiagnosed major vascular risk factors. We hope this study will help identify potential stroke patients who need more intensive prevention techniques and surveillance in the future.”


Notes to editors:

Press inquiries:

A reference to the EAN Congress 2022 to be included in communicating the information contained in this press release.

For more information or to speak to an expert, please contact Luke Paskins or Sean Deans at: press@ean.org or call +44 (0) 208 154 6393

About the expert:

dr. André Rêgo is currently based in the Center Vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland, and hails from Fernando Fonseca Hospital in Portugal.

EAN – The Home of Neurology:

The European Academy of Neurology (EAN) is Europe’s home of neurology. Founded in 2014, through the merger of two European neurological associations, EAN represents the interests of more than 45,000 individual members and 47 national institutional members from across the continent.

EAN welcomes press interest in neurological issues and is happy to assist journalists attending the conference or using the EAN website as a reporting tool.


  1. Undiagnosed Major Risk Factors in Acute Ischemic Stroke Patients: Clinical Profile, Stroke Mechanisms and Outcome, presented at EAN Congress 2022.

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