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Temporal association between atrial fibrillation and ischemic stroke: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

BACKGROUND: Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) is strongly associated with ischemic stroke. Continuous cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) can assess PAF episodes over prolonged periods. Studies that attempted to find a temporal association between PAF and ischemic stroke were inconclusive. Thus, we performed a systematic review and meta-analysis to assess this relationship.

AIMS: This study aimed to assess the temporal association between AF episodes and stroke within 30 days of the arrhythmic episode. The secondary outcome is a temporal association within a 90-day period.

SUMMARY OF REVIEW: A total of 2804 studies that discussed the temporal relationship between PAF and ischemic stroke were screened, and 7 studies were included in the meta-analysis. Among the 4041 patients included in these studies, there were 138 patients with device detected PAF episodes and stroke. Four studies used a 30-day window for temporality and the pooled odds ratio (OR) showed a significant association (OR 4.11 (95% CI 1.03-16.40)). The three studies reporting on AF and stroke within a 90-day window did not find a significant temporal relationship (OR 0.43 (95% CI 0.13-1.41)). Finally, the pooled result of those seven studies did not show a significant association (OR 1.51 (95% CI 0.44-5.17)).

CONCLUSION: This meta-analysis supports a temporal relationship between PAF and ischemic stroke within a 30-day window. Establishing this relationship is important for individualized risk prediction and targeted anticoagulation treatment.

DATA ACCESS STATEMENT: The data will be made available upon reasonable request.

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