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Eur J Neurol. 2012 Feb;19(2):317-23. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2011.03505.x. Epub 2011 Sep 14.

Routine cardiac evaluation in patients with ischaemic stroke and absence of known atrial fibrillation or coronary heart disease: transthoracic echocardiography vs. multidetector cardiac computed tomography.

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Department of Neurology, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



Cardiac evaluation is routinely conducted in patients with ischaemic stroke because embolisms originating from the heart are an important cause of stroke. We compared the prevalence of cardioaortic sources of cerebral embolism (CSCE) in patients with ischaemic stroke detected by transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) and/or multidetector cardiac computed tomography (MDCT). Additionaly, we investigated the frequency and severity of asymptomatic coronary artery disease (CAD) in patients who underwent MDCT.


We prospectively recruited patients with non-atrial fibrillation-related stroke who had no history of cardiac disease. Patients underwent cardiac evaluation using TTE alone (N=243, during the early phase of this study--TTE period), TTE and MDCT (N=62, midphase--transitional period) and MDCT alone (N=138, late phase--MDCT period). CSCE were defined according to the original and revised TOAST classifications. CAD was defined as 50% or more stenosis of the coronary artery.


Patients' characteristics did not differ amongst groups; however, CSCE were more frequently detected in the MDCT period than in the TTE period (18.1% vs. 6.6%, P<0.001). In the transitional period, there were 16 patients (25.8%) who were found to be CSCE by MDCT but not TTE, whilst three patients (4.8%) were found to be CSCE by TTE but not MDCT (P=0.004). Amongst the patients who underwent MDCT, 72 (36.0%) had asymptomatic CAD, invasive coronary angiography was needed in 21 (10.5%) and 10 (5.0%) patients finally underwent coronary intervention.


Multidetector cardiac computed tomography proved to be complementary to TTE for the identification of CSCE and can detect asymptomatic CAD, one of the major causes of vascular death in patients with stroke, in patients with non-atrial fibrillation-related stroke.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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