(HealthDay News) – Heavy alcohol intake correlates with intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) at a younger age, according to a study published in the Sept 11 issue of Neurology.

Barbara Casolla, MD, of the University of Lille Nord de France, and colleagues conducted a prospective study involving 540 adults with spontaneous ICH to determine whether there was an association with heavy alcohol intake, defined as consumption of more than 300g alcohol/week.

The researchers found that 25% of the participants were heavy drinkers (median age, 60 vs. 74 years for nondrinkers). Heavy drinkers were significantly less like to be older and to have a history of ischemic heart disease, but were significantly more likely to be smokers, based on a multivariate demographic model. In a radiographic model, heavy drinkers were more likely to have a nonlobar location of the ICH and were less likely to have severe leukoaraiosis. Among heavy drinkers, the prothrombin ratio and platelet counts were significantly lower. For patients younger than 60 years with a nonlobar ICH, heavy alcohol intake was predictive of two-year mortality (hazard ratio, 1.96).

“Alcohol abuse is associated with the occurrence of ICH at a young age,” the authors write. “However, the underlying vasculopathy remains unexplored in these patients. Indirect markers suggest small-vessel disease at an early stage that might be enhanced by moderate hemostatic disorders. Clinicians should keep in mind that alcohol has an impact on vital outcome among young patients with ICH.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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