Comparison of right-to-left shunt characteristics in cryptogenic embolic ischemic stroke and non-cardioembolic ischemic stroke

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2021-01-01

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Background: Patent foramen ovale (PFO) has been considered a potential mechanism of embolic stroke of undetermined origin. Objective: The aim of the present study was to identify the features of the right-to-left shunt (RLS) in patients with undetermined embolic ischemic stroke and compare them with those of patients with non-cardioembolic ischemic stroke. Methods: A retrospective study was conducted with 168 patients with stroke and RLS separated into the following two groups: the undetermined embolic stroke group (UES group) and non-cardioembolic stroke group (NCES group). All patients were assessed by transcranial Doppler to evaluate the presence and quantification of microembolic signals (MES) at rest and under Valsalva maneuver. Results: Of all patients evaluated in the current study, 96 were included in the UES group and 72 in the NCES group. In the UES group, 65 patients had RLS with ≥10 MES (67.7%), which was higher than that observed in the NCES group (51.4%, p=0.038). According to the moment of the cardiac cycle, 75 patients (78.1%) in the UES group had a positive test at rest compared to 42 (58.3%) in the NCES group (p=0.007). Conclusions: The current study demonstrated that almost 70% of patients with undetermined embolic stroke and PFO presented a large RLS and more than 75% had RLS at rest. These findings suggest that the size of the shunt should be taken into account when evaluating whether PFO could be a possible mechanism underlying cryptogenic stroke.

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Arquivos de Neuro-Psiquiatria, v. 79, n. 10, p. 859-863, 2021.

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