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Cardioembolic infarction in the Sagrat Cor-Alianza Hospital of Barcelona Stroke Registry

A Arboix, M C Vericat, R Pujades, J Massons, L García-Eroles, M Oliveres
Acta Neurologica Scandinavica 1997, 96 (6): 407-12

OBJECTIVES: To describe the clinical features of cardioembolic infarcts.

MATERIAL & METHODS: Cardioembolic infarct was diagnosed in 231 (15.4%) of 1500 consecutive stroke patients included in a prospective stroke registry over an 8-year period.

RESULTS: Cardiac sources of emboli included isolated atrial dysrhythmia (57.1%), valvular heart disease (20.3%), and coronary artery disease (18.2%). Patients with cardioembolic stroke showed a significantly higher (P < 0.00001) frequency of sudden onset of neurological deficit (79.7%) and altered consciousness (31.2%) than patients with lacunar infarct (38% and 1.9%) and atherothrombotic infarction (46% and 24%). Eleven patients had a spectacular shrinking deficit and 6 a presumed cardioembolic lacunar infarct. Early recurrent embolisms occurred in 6.5% of patients mostly (60%) within 7 days of initial embolism. In-hospital mortality was 27.3% (0.8% in lacunar infarcts, 21.7% in atherothrombotic infarction, P < 0.00001).

CONCLUSION: Cardioembolic infarction is a severe subtype of stroke with a high risk of early death. Clinical features at stroke onset may help clinicians to differentiate cerebral infarction subtypes and to establish prognosis more accurately.


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