Research Article| Volume 276, ISSUE 1-2, P126-129, January 15, 2009

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Serum erythrocyte sedimentation rate is higher among ethnic South Asian compared to ethnic Chinese ischemic stroke patients. Is this attributable to metabolic syndrome or central obesity?


      Inflammation, a vascular risk factor, is more pronounced among ethnic South Asians compared to ethnic Chinese in the general population. We compared serum erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) levels between ethnic South Asian and Chinese acute ischemic stroke patients, and further investigated if metabolic syndrome or central obesity could account for any difference detected. We prospectively recruited consecutive ischemic stroke patients within seven days of onset. Measurement of serum ESR was performed within two days of admission. Median serum ESR was higher among the 55 ethnic South Asian (16 mm/h IQR 3–35) compared to the 165 ethnic Chinese patients (9 mm/h IQR 4–19), p=0.004). Serum ESR was correlated with age. Higher serum ESR was associated with female gender, non-smokers, patients with central obesity and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol. Using regression analysis, South Asian ethnicity remained significantly associated with serum ESR, independent of age, gender, smoking status, metabolic syndrome, central obesity and low HDL. Ethnic South Asian ischemic stroke patients have a higher inflammatory state compared to ethnic Chinese patients. As the higher inflammatory state is independent of demographic and risk factors, we propose an underlying genetic or cultural basis for the ethnic difference.


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