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ISRN Cardiol. 2012;2012:650915. doi: 10.5402/2012/650915. Epub 2012 Sep 27.

Persistent atrial fibrillation is associated with worse prognosis than paroxysmal atrial fibrillation in acute cerebral infarction.

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Department of Neurology, Haukeland University Hospital, 5021 Bergen, Norway.



We hypothesized that patients with persistent atrial fibrillation (AF) suffer from more severe cerebral infarction than patients with paroxysmal AF due to differences in clot structure and volume.


This study includes consecutive patients with acute cerebral infarction and persistent or paroxysmal AF documented by ECG any time prior to stroke onset. The National Institute of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) was used to assess stroke severity on admission. Short-term outcome was determined by the modified Rankin scale (mRS) score, Barthel index, and NIHSS score 7 days after stroke onset. Risk factors were registered on admission. Eligible patients were treated with thrombolysis.


In total, 141 (52%) patients had paroxysmal AF, and 129 (48%) patients had persistent AF. NIHSS score on admission, mRS score at day 7, and mortality were significantly higher among patients with persistent AF. Thrombolysis was less effective in patients with persistent AF.


Our study shows that patients with persistent AF and acute cerebral infarction have poorer short-term outcome than patients with paroxysmal AF. Differences in clot structure or clot volume may explain this.

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