Embolic Strokes of Undetermined Source in the Athens Stroke Registry
An Outcome Analysis
Background and Purpose—Information about outcomes in Embolic Stroke of Undetermined Source (ESUS) patients is unavailable. This study provides a detailed analysis of outcomes of a large ESUS population.
Methods—Data set was derived from the Athens Stroke Registry. ESUS was defined according to the Cryptogenic Stroke/ESUS International Working Group criteria. End points were mortality, stroke recurrence, functional outcome, and a composite cardiovascular end point comprising recurrent stroke, myocardial infarction, aortic aneurysm rupture, systemic embolism, or sudden cardiac death. We performed Kaplan–Meier analyses to estimate cumulative probabilities of outcomes by stroke type and Cox-regression to investigate whether stroke type was outcome predictor.
Results—2731 patients were followed-up for a mean of 30.5±24.1months. There were 73 (26.5%) deaths, 60 (21.8%) recurrences, and 78 (28.4%) composite cardiovascular end points in the 275 ESUS patients. The cumulative probability of survival in ESUS was 65.6% (95% confidence intervals [CI], 58.9%–72.2%), significantly higher compared with cardioembolic stroke (38.8%, 95% CI, 34.9%–42.7%). The cumulative probability of stroke recurrence in ESUS was 29.0% (95% CI, 22.3%–35.7%), similar to cardioembolic strokes (26.8%, 95% CI, 22.1%–31.5%), but significantly higher compared with all types of noncardioembolic stroke. One hundred seventy-two (62.5%) ESUS patients had favorable functional outcome compared with 280 (32.2%) in cardioembolic and 303 (60.9%) in large-artery atherosclerotic. ESUS patients had similar risk of composite cardiovascular end point as all other stroke types, with the exception of lacunar strokes, which had significantly lower risk (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.70 [95% CI, 0.52–0.94]).
Conclusions—Long-term mortality risk in ESUS is lower compared with cardioembolic strokes, despite similar rates of recurrence and composite cardiovascular end point. Recurrent stroke risk is higher in ESUS than in noncardioembolic strokes.
- Received March 4, 2015.
- Revision received June 6, 2015.
- Accepted June 9, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.