Blood cadmium concentration and risk of subarachnoid haemorrhage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Cadmium is a toxic metal and exposure is mainly from diet and tobacco smoke. Cadmium is accumulated in blood vessels and may reduce synthesis of procollagen and inhibit proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells. High blood cadmium has been associated with increased risk of myocardial infarction, stroke and unruptured intracranial aneurysms. We examined whether blood cadmium increase the risk of subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH).

METHODS: The Malmö Diet and Cancer cohort (n = 28,449) was examined in 1991-1996 and blood samples were taken. Incidence of SAH was followed up to 2014. Cadmium was measured in stored blood samples from incident SAH cases and matched controls (n = 93 vs n = 276) and odds ratio (OR) for SAH was assessed in a nested case control design.

RESULTS: Subjects with cadmium concentration in the highest quartile had increased risk of SAH compared to those in the first quartile (OR: 3.22, 95%CI: 1.67-6.22). However, after adjusting for smoking, results were weakened and non-significant (OR: 1.57, 95%CI: 0.51-4.80).

CONCLUSIONS: Cadmium concentration was associated with increased risk of SAH but this association was largely explained by smoking. Whether cadmium in tobacco may contribute to the vascular pathology and increased risk of SAH in smokers should be further studied.


External organisations
  • Sahlgrenska University Hospital
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • University of Gothenburg
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Clinical Medicine
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)108826
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jan
Publication categoryResearch