Tareq Kass-Hout, MD

Ducroquet A, Leys D, Al Saabi A, Richard F, Cordonnier C, Girot M, et al. Influence of Chronic Ethanol Consumption on the Neurological Severity in Patients With Acute Cerebral Ischemia. Stroke. 2013

Ducroquet and colleagues conducted a study, recently published online in Stroke, to test if excessive chronic ethanol consumption is associated with higher severity of the neurological deficit in acute ischemic stroke. Even though this phenomenon has been seen in animal studies, such effect has not been evaluated in humans.

In this prospective observational cohort of a 436 patients with a median age of 70 years old, being classified as a heavy drinker was independently associated with more severe strokes (OR 2.26; 95%CI 1.06-4.82; p=0.034). There is not necessarily a causal relationship between ethanol consumption and stroke severity, but just a statistical association, which could be related to confounders that were not included in the analysis.

In short, the link between chronic heavy alcohol consumption and neurological severity in patients with acute cerebral ischemia is yet to be understood. This study, however, showed that excessive chronic ethanol consumption is associated with higher baseline stroke severity. As an interventional study would not be feasible, this question can be answered only through experimental approaches in animals.