Background: Stroke is a leading cause of death globally. Extreme temperatures may induce stroke, but evidence on the effects of heat on first-ever strokes is not clear. Low air pressure can lead to depression and an increase in blood pressure, and it may exacerbate the health impact of heat. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the effects of heat on first-ever strokes, the possible sensitive populations, and the effect of modification of atmospheric pressure.
Methods: We collected data on 142,569 first-ever strokes during 2005-2016 in Shenzhen, a coastal city in southern China, with subtropical oceanic monsoon climate. We fitted a time-series Poisson model in our study, estimating the association between daily mean temperature and first-ever strokes in hot months, with a distributed lag non-linear model with 7 days of lag. We calculated strokes attributable to heat in various gender, age groups, household register types, stroke subtypes, and atmospheric pressure levels.
Results: Heat had a significant cumulative association with first-ever strokes, and the risk of strokes increased with the rise in temperature after it was higher than 30 °C (the 85th percentile). In total, 1.95% (95% empirical CI 0.63-3.20%) of first-ever strokes were attributable to high temperature. The attributable fraction and attributable number of heat were statistically significant in male, female, middle-aged and old patients, immigrant patients, and CBI patients. The fraction attributable to heat was 3.33% in the low atmospheric pressure group, and the number of estimated daily attributable strokes at low atmospheric pressure levels was higher than that of medium and high atmospheric pressure levels (p < 0.01). Conclusions: High temperatures in hot months may trigger first-ever strokes, and low atmospheric pressure may exacerbate the effect. We mainly found associations between heat and first-ever strokes for intracerebral hemorrhage, middle-aged and old patients, as well as immigrant patients.