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Clinical Articles, News & Views

Heme iron increases stroke risk

A high heme iron intake, particularly in normal weight individuals, may increase the risk of stroke, according to a study1 published recently in Stroke.

Researchers investigated 38,859 subjects from the population-based Cohort of Swedish Men, aged 45 to 79 years, who had no history of stroke, coronary heart disease, or cancer at baseline. Hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) were calculated using Cox proportional hazards regression models.

During an 11.7 years follow-up, 3,097 incident cases of stroke, including 2,482 cerebral infarctions and 450 intracerebral haemorrhages, were registered. The hazard ratios of total stroke and cerebral infarction for the highest compared with the lowest quintiles of heme iron intake were 1.16 (95% CI, 1.03–1.31; p = 0.037) and 1.15 (95% CI, 1.00–1.31; p = 0.089), respectively. The incidence rates of total stroke per 10,000 person-years were 72.6 in the lowest quintile and 84.4 in the highest.

The association was confined to men with body mass index <25 kg/m2, the hazard ratios were 1.40 (95% CI, 1.17–1.68; p <0.001) for total stroke and 1.38 (95% CI, 1.13–1.70; p = 0.001) for cerebral infarction; no association was observed among overweight and obese men. There was no association between nonheme iron intake and risk of total stroke and stroke types.


1. Kaluza J, Wolk A, Larsson SC. Heme iron intake and risk of stroke: a prospective study of men. Stroke 2013.

Published on: January 25, 2013

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  • ArrhythmiaAlliance
  • Stars
  • Anticoagulation Europe
  • Atrial Fibrillation Association

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