Background and purpose The recent literature suggests that a cardiac origin in ischaemic stroke is more frequent than previously assumed. However, it is not always clear which patients benefit from additional cardiac investigations if obvious cardiac pathology is absent.

Methods A single-center retrospective observational study was performed with 7454 consecutive patients admitted to the intensive care unit after cardiac surgery in the period 2006-2015 and who had postoperative brain imaging. Cerebral imaging was studied for the occurrence of stroke including subtype and involved vascular territory. It was assumed that all perioperative thromboembolic strokes are of cardiac origin. Data obtained from a hospital cohort of consecutive patients who received a diagnosis of ischaemic stroke were used for comparison. Results Thromboembolic stroke occurred in 135 cardiac surgery patients in 56 (41%) of whom the posterior cerebral circulation was involved. In the control group, 100 out of 503 strokes (20%) were located in the posterior cerebral circulation. The relative risk for a posterior location for stroke after cardiac surgery compared to patients with ischaemic stroke without prior cardiac surgery was 2.09; 95% confidence interval 1.60-2.72.

Conclusions Thromboembolic stroke after cardiac surgery occurs twice as often in the posterior cerebral circulation compared to ischaemic strokes in the general population. If confirmed in general stroke cohorts, the consequence of this finding may be that in patients with an ischaemic stroke that involves the posterior cerebral circulation the chance of a cardiac origin is increased and therefore might trigger additional cardiac investigations such as long-term heart rhythm monitoring or echocardiography.

Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)184-190
Aantal pagina's7
TijdschriftEuropean Journal of Neurology
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
Vroegere onlinedatum28-aug.-2018
StatusPublished - jan.-2019


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