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Stroke secondary to cardiogenic embolism

  • Definition

    Stroke secondary to cardiogenic embolism is a loss of brain function caused by blood clots that develop in the heart and travel to the brain.

    See also: Stroke


    Alternative Names

    Stroke secondary to atrial fibrillation; Cardioembolic stroke


    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to any part of the brain. Strokes secondary to cardiogenic embolism are caused by moving blood clots (emboli) that develop in the heart. These clots travel through the bloodstream and become stuck in small arteries in the brain.

    This type of stroke typically occurs suddenly, with immediate and severe loss of brain functions. It is not associated with type of activity, and can occur at any time.

    Heart arrhythmias (such as atrial fibrillation) are commonly seen with this disorder, and are often the cause of the embolus. A heart muscle that is not beating strongly or regularly may result in blood remaining in the heart area, causing a clot to form. The clot can break off and travel to the brain.

    Risks for stroke secondary to cardiogenic embolism include:

    • History of heart valve replacement
    • Arrhythmias (especially atrial fibrillation)
    • Infective endocarditis
    • Heart attack
    • Mitral valve prolapse
    • Other heart valve disorders
    • Ischemic cardiomyopathy
    • Blood clots anywhere in the body