Abstract 2500: Paroxysmal Atrial Fibrillation Detected By Prolonged Ambulatory Cardiac Monitoring In Patients With Cryptogenic Stroke: A Case-Control Study
Background: Whether a significant proportion of cryptogenic stroke (CS) is caused by under-detected paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) is not known. Prolonged ambulatory cardiac monitoring may detect episodes of PAF in patients with stroke of unknown cause (cryptogenic stroke, CS). However, it is unclear whether PAF is more common in patients wtih CS compared with patients with stroke of known cause (SKC). We performed a case control study to compare the rates of detection of PAF in CS vs SKC using prolonged ambulatory cardiac rhythm monitoring.
Methods and Results: We prospectively enrolled 132 patients within 3 months of a stroke (66 with CS and 66 with SKC) to undergo 3-week ambulatory cardiac rhythm monitoring using the CardioNet MCOT system. Stroke group was assigned by consensus between two vascular neurologists upon enrollment based on the Causative Classification of Stroke system. Primary endpoint was detection of PAF of any duration independently confirmed by two cardiologists blinded to the stroke group. The groups were well balanced except that patients with CS tended to be older and to have less hypertension and diabetes. Four patients (2 in each group) were excluded because of insufficient stroke evaluation or early discontinuation of monitoring. Episodes of PAF were detected in 16/64 (25%) patients with CS and 9/64 (14%) patients with SKC (p=0.12). Only 5 patients had episodes of PAF lasting > 30 seconds (3 with CS and 2 with SKC). Six of the 9 patients from the SKC group with PAF had small subcortical infarctions; the other 3 had cortical strokes ascribed to artery-to-artery embolism (2 with complex aortic plaques, 1 with severe vertebrobasilar stenosis). In patients under age 65, episodes of PAF were more common in the CS group (22% vs 3; p=0.07) while in patients age 65 or older the rates of detection were very similar (29% in CS vs 28% in SKC; p=0.9).
Conclusions: Very short episodes of PAF are relatively common in patients with CS and with SKC, and their pathogenic significance is unclear. However, considering only patients under 65, a greater proportion of cryptogenic stroke patients had PAF, suggesting it might be pathogenic.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.