Occult blood in stools tied to increased risk of MI and stro
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Occult blood in feces is associated with an increased risk of ischemic stroke and myocardial infarction, a nationwide population study finds. The findings of the study have been published in the Journal of American Heart Association.

Although occult hemoglobin in feces is universally valued as a screening tool for colorectal cancer (CRC), only few studies investigated the clinical meaning of fecal immunochemical test (FIT) in other diseases. This study evaluated the clinical utility of FIT in patients with cardiovascular diseases (namely, ischemic stroke and myocardial infarction [MI]).

Using the National Health Insurance database, participants (aged more than 50 years) with CRC screening records were screened and followed up. Subjects with a history of cardiovascular diseases and CRC were excluded. Ischemic stroke, MI, and other comorbidities were defined by International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10), codes.

Age, sex, smoking, alcohol consumption, regular exercise, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, dyslipidemia, and body mass index were adjusted in a multivariate analysis. A total of 6 277 446 subjects were eligible for analysis. During the mean 6.79 years of follow-up, 168 570 participants developed ischemic stroke, 105 983 developed MI, and 11 253 deaths were observed.

A multivariate-adjusted model revealed that the risk of ischemic stroke was higher in the FIT-positive population. Similarly, FIT-positive subjects were at an increased risk of MI. Moreover, increased all-cause mortality was observed in the FIT-positive population. The increased risk remained consistent in the stratified analysis on anemia and CRC status.

Conclusively, positive FIT findings were associated with ischemic stroke, MI, and mortality. Occult blood in feces may offer more clinical information than its well-known conventional role in CRC screening.

Source: https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.120.017783