Estimating the Magnitude of Genetic Factors by Calculating the Genetic Relative Risk of Stroke in First-Ever Lacunar Stroke Patients

I.L. Knottnerus*, M.J.F. Gielen, J. Lodder, R.P. Rouhl, J. Staals, R. Vlietinck, R.J. van Oostenbrugge

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Positive family history of stroke is an independent risk factor for lacunar stroke. However, the magnitude of familial aggregation of a certain disease is better evaluated by the genetic relative risk. This is calculated by dividing the prevalence of specific disease in family members of patients by the prevalence of this disease in the general population. In a cohort of lacunar stroke patients, who were subtyped clinically and radiologically, we determined the genetic relative risk of stroke. Methods: By questionnaire and additional interview, we obtained a complete first-degree family history of stroke. The prevalence of stroke in first-degree relatives of these lacunar stroke patients was compared to the self-reported prevalence of stroke in a Dutch community based cohort of elderly volunteers. Secondly, the influence of proband characteristics and family composition on parental and sibling history of stroke were evaluated. Principal Findings: We collected data of 1066 first-degree relatives of 195 lacunar stroke patients. Strokes occurred in 13.5% of first-degree relatives. The genetic relative risk was 2.94 (95% CI 2.45-3.53) for overall first-degree relatives, 4.52 (95% CI 3.61-5.65) for patients' parents and 2.10 (95% CI 1.63-2.69) for patients' siblings. Age of proband and proband status for hypertension influenced the chance of having a parent with a history of stroke whereas the likelihood of having a concordant sibling increased with sibship size. Conclusions: We found an increased genetic relative risk of stroke in first-degree relatives of patients with lacunar stroke. Our data warrant further genomic research in this well-defined high risk population for stroke.
Original languageEnglish
Article number21439
Pages (from-to)5
Number of pages5
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2011



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