Previous studies have linked illicit drug consumption and stroke. The purpose of this study is to identify specific imaging findings depicted on computed tomography angiography on patients with illicit drug-associated stroke.
This is a retrospective case-control study that included ischemic stroke patients. Subjects who tested positive for cocaine or marijuana were considered as cases, while patients who tested negative were included as controls. Matching of the controls was carried out based on the presence of stroke risk factors. A previously validated scale was used to calculate narrowing scores through computed tomography angiography. Comparison between cases and matched controls was evaluated by paired t test for age and body mass index, and by Wilcoxon signed rank test for intracranial, extracranial, and total scores.
One hundred seventy-four patients were included in the study, 87 subjects for each group. Because of matching, baseline status differed only on body mass index, with a greater proportion of obese subjects among controls (P < 0.016). Subgroup analysis demonstrated that it is more likely to find any intracranial abnormality among cocaine consumers when compared with controls (P = 0.041).
By using computed tomography angiography, we found that stroke patients with history of cocaine consumption had a higher incidence of intracranial circulation narrowing compared with matched controls.