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J Stroke Cerebrovasc Dis. 2012 Nov;21(8):794-800. doi: 10.1016/j.jstrokecerebrovasdis.2011.04.010. Epub 2011 Jun 2.

Pilot study of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging for detection of embolic source after ischemic stroke.

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  • 1Stroke Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-5855, USA.



Transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) is the standard for evaluating cardioembolic sources of stroke, although many strokes remain cryptogenic after TEE. Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging may have advantages over TEE. We performed a prospective pilot study comparing CMR to TEE after stroke to assist in planning future definitive studies.


Individuals with nonlacunar stroke within 90 days of undergoing clinical TEE were prospectively identified and underwent a 1.5 Tesla research CMR scan. Exclusion criteria included >50% relevant cervical vessel stenosis and inability to undergo nonsedated CMR. A descriptive comparison of cardioembolic source (intracardiac thrombus/mass, aortic atheroma ≥ 4 mm, or patent foramen ovale [PFO]) by study type was performed.


Twenty patients underwent CMR and TEE a median of 6 days apart. The median age was 51 years (interquartile range [IQR] 40, 63.5), 40% had hypertension, 15% had diabetes, 25% had a previous stroke/transient ischemic attack, 5% had atrial fibrillation, and none had coronary disease or heart failure. No patient had intracardiac thrombus or mass detected on either study. Aortic atheroma ≥ 4 mm thick was identified by TEE in 1 patient. CMR identified aortic atheroma as <4 mm in this patient (3 mm on CMR compared with 5 mm on TEE). PFO was identified in 6 of 20 patients on TEE; CMR found only 1 of these.


In this pilot study, TEE identified more potential cardioembolic sources than CMR imaging. Future studies comparing TEE and CMR after stroke should focus on older subjects at higher risk for cardiac disease to determine whether TEE, CMR, or both can best elucidate potential cardioembolic sources.

Copyright © 2012 National Stroke Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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