Can weather help explain 'why now?': The potential role of hourly temperature as a stroke trigger

Sebastian T. Rowland, Lawrence G. Chillrud, Amelia K. Boehme, Ander Wilson, Johnathan Rush, Allan C. Just, Marianthi Anna Kioumourtzoglou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: While evidence suggests that daily ambient temperature exposure influences stroke risk, little is known about the potential triggering role of ultra short-term temperature. Methods: We examined the association between hourly temperature and ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, separately, and identified any relevant lags of exposure among adult New York State residents from 2000 to 2015. Cases were identified via ICD-9 codes from the New York Department of Health Statewide Planning and Reearch Cooperative System. We estimated ambient temperature up to 36 h prior to estimated stroke onset based on patient residential ZIP Code. We applied a time-stratified case-crossover study design; control periods were matched to case periods by year, month, day of week, and hour of day. Additionally, we assessed effect modification by leading stroke risk factors hypertension and atrial fibrillation. Results: We observed 578,181 ischemic and 164,755 hemorrhagic strokes. Among ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes respectively, the mean (standard deviation; SD) patient age was 71.8 (14.6) and 66.8 (17.4) years, with 55% and 49% female. Temperature ranged from −29.5 °C to 39.2 °C, with mean (SD) 10.9 °C (10.3 °C). We found linear relationships for both stroke types. Higher temperature was associated with ischemic stroke over the 7 h following exposure; a 10 °C increase over 7 h was associated with 5.1% (95% Confidence Interval [CI]: 3.8, 6.4%) increase in hourly stroke rate. In contrast, temperature was negatively associated with hemorrhagic stroke over 5 h, with a 5-h cumulative association of −6.2% (95% CI: 8.6, −3.7%). We observed suggestive evidence of a larger association with hemorrhagic stroke among patients with hypertension and a smaller association with ischemic stroke among those with atrial fibrillation. Conclusion: Hourly temperature was positively associated with ischemic stroke and negatively associated with hemorrhagic stroke. Our results suggest that ultra short-term weather influences stroke risk and hypertension may confer vulnerability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112229
JournalEnvironmental Research
StatePublished - 1 May 2022


  • Climate change
  • Distributed lag model
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke


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