Background: The precise time of stroke onset during sleep is difficult to specify, but this has a considerable influence on circadian variations of stroke onset.
Aim: To investigate circadian variations in situations at stroke onset—that is, in the waking state or during sleep—and their differences among subtypes.
Methods: 12 957 cases of first-ever stroke onset diagnosed from the Iwate Stroke Registry between 1991 and 1996 by computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging were analysed. Circadian variations were compared using onset number in 2-h periods with relative risk for the expected number of the average of 12 2-h intervals in the waking state or during sleep in cerebral infarction (CIF), intracerebral haemorrhage (ICH) and subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH).
Results: ICH and SAH showed bimodal circadian variations and CIF had a single peak in all situations at onset, whereas all three subtypes showed bimodal circadian variations of stroke onset in the waking state only. These variations were different in that CIF showed a bimodal pattern with a higher peak in the morning and a lower peak in the afternoon, whereas ICH and SAH had the same bimodal pattern with lower and higher peaks in the morning and afternoon, respectively.
Conclusions: Sleep or status in sleep tends to promote ischaemic stroke and suppress haemorrhagic stroke. Some triggers or factors that promote ischaemic stroke and prevent haemorrhagic stroke in the morning cause different variations in the waking state between ischaemic and haemorrhagic stroke.
- CIF, cerebral infarction
- ICH, intracerebral haemorrhage
- MRI, magnetic resonance imaging
- SAH, subarachnoid haemorrhage
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Published Online First 17 August 2006
Competing interests: None declared.