Aortogenic embolic stroke: a transesophageal echocardiographic approach.
We studied the frequency and grade of atherosclerotic changes in the thoracic aorta and their significance as embologenic lesions in patients with stroke.
Using transesophageal echocardiography, we evaluated complicated lesions in the thoracic aortas of 62 patients who met our clinical criteria for embolic stroke. A complicated lesion was defined as a raised lesion with an irregular surface or acoustic shadow based on a comparative study of echocardiographic and histopathologic findings. The results were compared with plain radiographic findings and in some cases with computed tomographic or aortographic findings.
Twenty-six patients (42%) showed complicated aortic arch lesions on echocardiogram. Transesophageal echocardiography brought us more abundant information than other techniques. Aortic knob calcification by plain radiography correlated well with the presence of echocardiographically complicated lesions, suggesting its utility for rough screening of atherosclerotic changes. Fifty-two patients had other potential embolic sources in the heart or cervical arteries. Among the remaining 10 patients without extra-aortic embolic sources, three showed complicated lesions and were diagnosed as having aortogenic embolic stroke.
Aortic atherosclerosis should be recognized as an embolic source of stroke and the advantage of transesophageal echocardiography recognized in its evaluation.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association