Stroke Risk May Be Determined by Number of Renal Cysts

Renal Cysts on Ultrasound
Renal Cysts on Ultrasound
Individuals in the study were categorized based on the presence of single or multiple renal cysts; those with multiple cysts had higher odds of having a stroke.

Individuals with multiple renal cysts may have higher odds of having a stroke compared with individuals without renal cysts, according to a study presented at the 2018 International Stroke Conference in Los Angeles, California.

As the researchers noted, renal cysts are usually considered benign findings on ultrasound or computed tomography scans, but recent data suggest these cysts may represent the early stages of end-organ damage. To investigate whether individuals with renal cysts had a higher prevalence of cerebrovascular accidents, the researchers collected renal ultrasound data on 2984 participants (mean age, 71.9; 57% women) from the population-based Rotterdam Study. Participants with renal cysts were categorized by single or multiple cysts.

A total of 508 (17.0%) individuals had a single renal cyst, whereas 197 (6.6%) participants had multiple cysts. Patients having a single renal cyst compared with no cysts had 1.63 (95% CI, 1.10-2.64) higher odds of experiencing a concomitant stroke. In addition, there was a stronger association between stroke and renal cysts in individuals with multiple renal cysts. Compared with individuals without renal cysts, those who had multiple cysts had a 2.14 (95% CI, 1.20-3.82) higher odds of having a stroke. No significant association was reported between transient ischemic attacks and single or multiple renal cysts (odds ratio, 1.06 [95% CI, 0.70-1.59] and odds ratio, 1.29 [95% CI, 0.74-2.23], respectively).

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Furthermore, these associations were independent of age, sex, blood pressure, body mass index, smoking, cardiovascular disease history, diabetes, and kidney function.

“This data questions the general consensus that renal cysts are of no clinical significance as they might signal higher degrees of vascular damages in the brain circulation,” the researchers concluded.


Sedaghat S, Murad SD, Stricker B, Zietse R, Hoorn E, Ikram M. Renal cysts and stroke in the general population: the Rotterdam study. Presented at: the 2018 International Stroke Conference. January 24-26, 2017; Los Angeles, California. Presentation 146.

This article originally appeared on Neurology Advisor