CASE REPORTS
JOURNAL ARTICLE
RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Cardiac workup of ischemic stroke: can we improve our diagnostic yield?

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Discovering potential cardiac sources of stroke is an important part of the urgent evaluation of the ischemic stroke patient as it often impacts treatment decisions that are essential for determining secondary stroke prevention strategies, yet the optimal approach to the cardiac workup of an ischemic stroke patient is not known.

METHODS: A review of the literature concerning the utility of cardiac rhythm monitoring (ECG, telemetry, Holter monitors, and event recorders) and structural imaging (transthoracic and transesophageal echocardiography) was performed.

RESULTS: Data supporting a definitive, optimal, and cost-effective approach are lacking, though some data suggest that appropriate patient selection can improve the diagnostic and therapeutic yield of rhythm monitoring and echocardiography in the evaluation of stroke etiology.

CONCLUSIONS: Based on available data, an algorithmic approach for the evaluation of patients with acute ischemic cerebrovascular events that takes into account therapeutic and diagnostic yield as well as cost-efficiency is proposed.

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