August 11, 2020 11:01 AM

Mexican Americans Now Less Likely to Have a Second Stroke

Recurrent stroke rates declined for Mexican Americans in a population study, closing the gap with non-Hispanic whites.

stethoscope drawing
Image by Stephanie King.

More than a decade of research in one county in Texas documents an encouraging reduction in stroke rates for the community’s Mexican American residents, study authors say.

When the Brain Attack Surveillance in Corpus Christi project began in 2000, Mexican Americans were more likely than non-Hispanic whites in the study area of Nueces County, Texas, to have a second stroke after an initial event. But by 2013, the difference was no longer.

Among Mexican Americans, incidence of one-year recurrence dropped from 9.26% in 2000 to 3.42% in 2013. Non-Hispanic whites had a reduction in recurrence as well, although not significant, from 5.67% in 2000 down to 3.59% in 2013. In all, 206 of the more than 3,500 participants experienced an additional stroke within a year of their first.

“Throughout this long-term study, this is the first time that we have encountered an improvement in any major marker of ethnic stroke disparities,” says Lewis Morgenstern, M.D., a professor of neurology at Michigan Medicine and of epidemiology at the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health. “These results suggest that stroke recurrence continues to decline in both populations, but faster in Mexican Americans, perhaps because their rates were so high to begin with.”

Morgenstern and Michigan Medicine colleagues recently published these findings in Stroke, a journal of the American Stroke Association.

Mexican Americans make up 63% of the subpopulation of Hispanic Americans, which are the most numerous U.S. minority population. As the members of this population age, they will have a substantial risk for stroke and stroke recurrence, making secondary stroke prevention extremely important, according to the American Stroke Association.

"Recurrent stroke leads to worse functional outcomes as well as higher risk of mortality," says lead author Cemal Sozener, M.D., associate professor of emergency medicine at Michigan Medicine. "Monitoring trends in ethnic minority communities is crucial for public health planning, and through health system interventions, can lead to reductions in health disparities."

Paper cited: “Trends in Stroke Recurrence in Mexican Americans and Non-Hispanic Whites,” Stroke. DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.029376.