Cardiac sequelae of acute stroke.
The possibility that acute stroke produces an increase in sympathetic tone with resultant cardiac abnormalities was examined in 100 stroke patients admitted to a stroke ICU and in 50 controls found to have diagnoses other than stroke or TIA after admission to the Unit. Continuous 24 hour Holter ECG tapings were performed and serum cardiac enzymes and plasma norepinephrine concentrations were measured within 48 hours after admission. Significantly, (p less than .001) more serious arrhythmias were observed during 24 hour Holter ECG monitoring in stroke patients compared with controls and the difference remained (p less than .01) after matching for age and co-existing heart disease. Arrhythmias were more common in older stroke (p less than .001) and older control (p = .05) patients and with infarction of the cerebral hemispheres (p less than .05) as compared to brainstem lesions. Arrhythmia occurrence was independent of the presence of co-existing heart disease and the level of sympathetic activity. However, the 15 stroke patients with abnormally high CK values (mean 34.3 units) had a higher (p less than .02) mean plasma norepinephrine concentration (650.4 pg/ml) than stroke patients with normal CK (427.7 pg/ml). Acute stroke may cause cardiac arrhythmias and myocardial cell damage, the latter through stroke induced increases in sympathetic tone.
- Copyright © 1982 by American Heart Association