Scanning of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation as an etiological risk factor in patients with acute ischemic stroke: prospective study


Sao Paulo Medical Journal




Abstract BACKGROUND: Prevention of recurrence of stroke depends on recognition of the underlying mechanism of ischemia. OBJECTIVE: To screen patients who were hospitalized with diagnosis of acute ischemic stroke in terms of atrial fibrillation (AF) with repeated Holter electrocardiography recordings. DESIGN AND SETTING: Prospective study conducted at Konya Education and Research Hospital, Turkey. METHODS: Patients with a diagnosis of acute ischemic stroke, without atrial fibrillation on electrocardiography (ECG), were evaluated. Their age, gender, histories of previous ischemic attack, occurrences of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) and other risks were assessed during the first week after acute ischemic stroke and one month thereafter. ECG recordings were obtained from 130 patients through 24-hour ambulatory Holter. Patients without PAF attack during the first Holter were re-evaluated. RESULTS: PAF was detected through the first Holter in 33 (25.4%) out of 130 acute ischemic stroke patients. A second Holter was planned for 97 patients: 53 (54.6%) of them could not attend due to COVID-19 pandemic; while 44 (45.3%) patients had the second Holter and, among these, 4 (9.1%) had PAF. The only parameter associated with PAF was older age. Four (10.8%) of the 37 patients with PAF had also symptomatic carotid stenosis. CONCLUSIONS: Detecting the presence of PAF by screening patients with no AF in the ECG through Holter ECG examinations is valuable in terms of changing the course of the treatment. It should be kept in mind that the possibility of accompanying PAF cannot be ruled out in the presence of other factors that pose a risk of stroke.

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