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N Engl J Med. 2014 Jun 26;370(26):2478-86. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1313600.

Cryptogenic stroke and underlying atrial fibrillation.

Author information

1
From the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Institute of Cardiology (T.S.), and Institute of Neurology, Campus Bio-Medico University (V.D.L.) - both in Rome; the Department of Neurology and Stroke Center, University Hospital Essen, Essen (H.-C.D.), and Hospital Klinikum Coburg, Teaching Hospital of the University of Würzburg, Coburg (J.B.) - both in Germany; Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute (R.S.P.) and Davee Department of Neurology (R.A.B.), Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago; Population Health Research Institute, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada (C.A.M.); University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City (M.M.R.); the KU Leuven Department of Neurosciences, the VIB-Vesalius Research Center, and the Department of Neurology, University Hospitals Leuven - all in Leuven, Belgium (V.T.); Medtronic, Mounds View, MN (T.R., K.L.); and Medtronic, Maastricht, the Netherlands (F.B.).

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Current guidelines recommend at least 24 hours of electrocardiographic (ECG) monitoring after an ischemic stroke to rule out atrial fibrillation. However, the most effective duration and type of monitoring have not been established, and the cause of ischemic stroke remains uncertain despite a complete diagnostic evaluation in 20 to 40% of cases (cryptogenic stroke). Detection of atrial fibrillation after cryptogenic stroke has therapeutic implications.

METHODS:

We conducted a randomized, controlled study of 441 patients to assess whether long-term monitoring with an insertable cardiac monitor (ICM) is more effective than conventional follow-up (control) for detecting atrial fibrillation in patients with cryptogenic stroke. Patients 40 years of age or older with no evidence of atrial fibrillation during at least 24 hours of ECG monitoring underwent randomization within 90 days after the index event. The primary end point was the time to first detection of atrial fibrillation (lasting >30 seconds) within 6 months. Among the secondary end points was the time to first detection of atrial fibrillation within 12 months. Data were analyzed according to the intention-to-treat principle.

RESULTS:

By 6 months, atrial fibrillation had been detected in 8.9% of patients in the ICM group (19 patients) versus 1.4% of patients in the control group (3 patients) (hazard ratio, 6.4; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.9 to 21.7; P<0.001). By 12 months, atrial fibrillation had been detected in 12.4% of patients in the ICM group (29 patients) versus 2.0% of patients in the control group (4 patients) (hazard ratio, 7.3; 95% CI, 2.6 to 20.8; P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

ECG monitoring with an ICM was superior to conventional follow-up for detecting atrial fibrillation after cryptogenic stroke. (Funded by Medtronic; CRYSTAL AF ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00924638.).

PMID:
24963567
DOI:
10.1056/NEJMoa1313600
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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