Highlights from

WCD 2019

World Congress of Dermatology

Milan 10-15 June 2019

Lower risk of stroke for alopecia areata patients

According to a large sample from a patient register, middle aged and elderly patients with alopecia areata have a lower risk to develop strokes compared with controls of the same age [1].

Previous reports of the association between alopecia areata (AA) and stroke yielded conflicting results. To clarify this issue, an analysis from a large Midwestern USA patient population investigated whether there is a correlation between stroke risk and a diagnosis of AA.

Data was derived from a register with more than 6 million patients, including 115,866 patients who saw a dermatologist and had a follow-up of at least 1 month. The researchers assessed whether patients with an ICD-diagnosis of AA in this dataset had a subsequent diagnosis for haemorrhagic or ischaemic stroke. Results were compared with a control population consisting of dermatology patients without AA. Analyses were adjusted for sex, race, and known stroke risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, and atrial fibrillation. The analysis was performed in 2 age groups: in patients from 18-42 years of age and 43-89 years of age.

The dataset included 1,645 patients with an AA diagnosis. The older cohort with AA had an almost 50% lower relative risk to experience a stroke compared with the controls in the same age (P=0.019). In the younger cohort, only a numerically lower risk of stroke was observed in the AA patients that failed to reach statistical significance.

The authors concluded that AA patients over 42 years of age -a group otherwise expected to be at greater risk for stroke- showed to have a significantly lower risk of stroke compared with a control group. Further studies should elucidate possible mechanisms of this association.

  1. Grilling E, et al. Risk of stroke in patients with alopecia areata: real world evidence from a large, urban patient population. Poster presented at the World Congress of Dermatology 2019, 10-15 June, Milan, Italy.

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