Cardioaortic brain embolism is a potentially devastating condition that presents frequent diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. In this report, we review key aspects of the etiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of cardiogenic and aortogenic stroke. Emphasis is on advances in diagnostic imaging capabilities and on recent literature addressing secondary prevention for specific cardioembolic sources, upon which diagnosis and prognosis primarily depend. While early evaluation with modern neuroimaging techniques offers to enhance diagnostic accuracy, additional study is required to define optimal utilization. Appropriate imaging of the heart and aorta is paramount to identifying potential sources of embolism. Secondary prevention for high-risk embolic sources generally involves anticoagulation, but immediate initiation of anticoagulation is not routinely indicated. Medium-risk sources have more modest or undefined risks and little randomized comparative evidence to guide management, but antiplatelet therapy is generally favored. One possible exception is patent foramen ovale, for which high-risk features may warrant anticoagulation or mechanical closure. Definitive recommendations for this and other findings await completion of ongoing clinical trials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine