Our study aimed to present the clinical characteristics of aetiological and risk factors of ischemic stroke (IS) in young adults in order to provide reference to the early prevention and management.
Data of young IS patients aged 18-50 years who were admitted to our tertiary stroke center were retrospectively reviewed. Demographic and clinical characteristics, and risk factors/aetiologies were assessed. Differences of clinical characteristics between the young (18-34 years) and old (35-50 years) age groups were investigated.
343 consecutive inpatients were recruited (mean age 43.8 years). 40 patients (11.7 %) were in the young age group. The prevalence of smoking, diabetes and hypertension accounted for 49.0 %, 24.8 % and 36.2 % respectively, with higher rates in old age group (all p < 0.05). Hyperlipidemia and drinking took up 34.4 % and 45.2 %, with no statistical difference between age groups. 56 patients (16.3 %) were in the "large-artery atherosclerosis" category, and higher percentage of patients was in the old age group (17.8 % vs 5.0 %, p < 0.05). 9.9 % of the patients were classified as the "cardioembolism'' category, and higher percentage of patients was in the young age group (20.0 % vs 8.6 %, p < 0.05). 46 patients (13.4 %) were diagnosed as small vessel occlusion, with similar prevalence in the young and old age group. 15 patients (4.6 %) had other determined causes and 192 patients (56.0 %) were due to undetermined cause.
the traditional vascular risk factors are frequent and increases with age in young stroke. Further investigation on the ‘rare’ risk factor and etiology would beneficial.

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