Background: Intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH) and chronic liver disease are relatively common in East Asian countries. However, the relationship between the two diseases is unclear. Thus, we investigated the association between serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels and ICH risk in East Asian populations. Methods: The East Asian Network for Stroke Prevention enrolled 279,982 participants with ALT measurements from four cohort studies in Korea, Taiwan, Japan and mainland China. Among them, 1,324 ICH events and 493 ICH deaths were observed. Cox's proportional hazard regression analysis was performed in each cohort to estimate the hazard ratio (HR) after adjusting for age, blood pressure, diabetes, total cholesterol, smoking and alcohol intake. Combined HRs were then estimated using pooled analyses with fixed-effects models. Results: The multivariate-adjusted pooled HRs (with 95% confidence interval, CI) for ICH incidence per 10 IU/l increments of ALT were 1.04 (1.03-1.04) in men and 1.01 (0.98-1.04) in women. Corresponding HRs for ICH mortality were 1.04 (1.02-1.05) in men and 1.04 (1.00-1.08) in women. The pooled HRs for ICH incidence in participants with ALT levels greater than or equal to 50 IU/l compared to those with levels less than 20 IU/l were 1.74 (1.41-2.16) in men and 1.60 (1.06-2.40) in women. The corresponding HRs for ICH mortality were 1.72 (1.21-2.44) in men and 1.63 (0.79-3.36) in women. Conclusions: An elevated ALT level was independently and significantly associated with an increased risk of ICH in East Asian men, but the association was less prominent in women.

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