Increase in ischemic stroke incident hospitalizations among Bedouin Arabs during Ramadan month

Noa Zimhony, Ibrahim Abu-Salameh, Iftach Sagy, Yotam Dizitzer, Liat Oxman, Maayan Yitshak-Sade, Victor Novack, Anat Horev, Gal Ifergane

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5 Scopus citations


Background--Previous studies have not shown any significant effect on stroke incidence during Ramadan. We aimed to investigate the association between ischemic stroke incident hospitalizations and Ramadan, accounting for seasonality and temperature. Methods and Results--This retrospective cohort study included all patients admitted with acute ischemic stroke to Soroka University Medical Center from June 2012 to June 2016. We obtained daily mean temperatures and relative humidity rates from 2 monitoring stations in South Israel. We analyzed the association between stroke incidence and Ramadan month, adjusting for weekly temperature and seasonality using Poisson regression models. We compared the first versus the last Ramadan fortnight. We performed an effect specificity analysis by assessing stroke incidence in the non-Bedouin population. We identified 4727 cases of ischemic stroke, 564 cases of which were Bedouin Arabs. Fifty-one cases occurred during Ramadan. Ramadan was significantly associated with an increased risk for ischemic stroke (RR 1.48; 95% confidence interval, 1.04-2.09), mainly during the first fortnight (RR 1.73, 95% confidence interval, 1.13-2.66) when compared with non-Ramadan periods. Mean weekly temperatures and the summer season were not associated with stroke incidence among Bedouin Arabs (RR 0.98; 95% confidence interval, 0.82-1.18 and RR 0.77; confidence interval 0.56-1.06 accordingly). Such association was not observed in the non- Bedouin population. Conclusion--The Ramadan month, particularly in its first 2 weeks, is an independent and ethnicity specific risk factor for ischemic stroke hospitalizations among the Bedouin Arab fasting population.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere008018
JournalJournal of the American Heart Association
Issue number10
StatePublished - 15 May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Ethnicity
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Risk factor


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