Background And Purpose-: Many studies have investigated the role of plasma von Willebrand factor level in coronary heart disease, but few have investigated its role in stroke. The aim of this study was to determine if von Willebrand factor levels are associated with the risk of stroke. Methods-: The study was part of the Rotterdam Study, a large population-based cohort study among subjects aged ≥55 years. We included 6 250 participants who were free from stroke at baseline (1997 to 2001) and for whom blood samples were available. Follow-up for incident stroke was complete up to January 1, 2005. Data were analyzed with Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for age and sex and additionally with models adjusted for other potential confounders including ABO blood group. A subgroup analysis was performed in participants without atrial fibrillation. Effect modification by sex was tested on a multiplicative and on an additive scale. Results-: During an average follow-up time of 5.0 years, 290 first-ever strokes occurred, of which 197 were classified as ischemic. The risk of stroke increased with increasing von Willebrand factor levels (age- and sex-adjusted hazard ratios per SD increase in von Willebrand factor level: 1.12 [95% CI, 1.01 to 1.25] for stroke, 1.13 [95% CI, 0.99 to 1.29] for ischemic stroke). Adjustments for additional confounders slightly attenuated the association. The association was also present in subjects without atrial fibrillation and did not differ between sexes. Conclusion-: High von Willebrand factor levels are associated with stroke risk in the general population.

adult, aged, article, blood group ABO system, brain hemorrhage, cerebral infarction, cerebrovascular accident, cohort analysis, computer assisted, disease association, enzyme linked immunosorbent assay, epidemiology, female, follow up, heart atrium fibrillation, human, incidence, major clinical study, male, nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, population research, priority journal, protein blood level, risk factor, risk factors, tomography, von Willebrand factor,
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Wieberdink, R.G, van Schie, M.C, Koudstaal, P.J, Hofman, A, Witteman, J.C.M, de Maat, M.P.M, … Breteler, M.M.B. (2010). High von Willebrand factor levels increase the risk of stroke: The Rotterdam study. Stroke, 41(10), 2151–2156. doi:10.1161/STROKEAHA.110.586289