Background. The contribution of the hemoglobin concentration to the incidence of hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke in patients undergoing hemodialysis is unclear. Methods. In total, 3436 patients undergoing prevalent hemodialysis were followed up for 4 years. The primary outcome was the first development of hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke. The baseline hemoglobin concentration was divided into quartiles [hemoglobin (g/dL): Q1,9.7; Q2, 9.8-10.5; Q3, 10.6-11.1; Q4,11.2]. The association between the hemoglobin concentration and each type of stroke was examined using the Kaplan- Meiermethod and a Cox proportional hazardsmodel. Results. During the follow-up period, 76 (2.2%) patients developed hemorrhagic stroke and 139 (4.0%) developed ischemic stroke. The 4-year incidence rate of hemorrhagic stroke was significantly higher in patients with lower hemoglobin concentrations. Compared with the quartile of patients with the highest hemoglobin concentrations (Q4), the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios for hemorrhagic stroke were 1.18 (95% confidence interval, 0.56-2.51), 1.59 (0.82-3.21) and 2.31 (1.16-4.73) in patients in Q3, Q2 and Q1, respectively. No association was identified between the 4-year incidence rate of ischemic stroke and the hemoglobin concentration. Compared with the quartile of patients with the lowest hemoglobin concentrations (Q1), the multivariable-adjusted hazard ratios for ischemic stroke were 1.17 (95% confidence interval, 0.73-1.89), 0.88 (0.51-1.51) and 1.10 (0.66-1.83) in patients in Q2, Q3 and Q4, respectively. Conclusions. Our results suggest that low hemoglobin concentrations are associated with a high risk of hemorrhagic stroke, but not of ischemic stroke, in patients undergoing hemodialysis.
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