Cerebrovascular DiseaseCardiac disorders and strokeOppenheimer, Stephen M.Author Information Cerebrovascular Program, Department of Neurology, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA Correspondence to Stephen M. Oppenheimer, Cerebrovascular Program, Johns Hopkins Hospital, Meyer 5‐185, 600 N Wolfe Street, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA Tel: +1 410 502 5356; fax: +1 410 614 9807 Abbreviations; CABG: coronary artery bypass grafting; CAD: coronary artery disease; CEA: carotid endarterectomy; PFO: patent foramen ovale; Current Opinion in Neurology: February 1998 - Volume 11 - Issue 1 - p 51-56 Buy Abstract Cardiac disorders are increasingly recognised as an important source of cerebral embolism. Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac dysrrhythmia that can predispose to stroke. Recent advances have significantly increased the identification of clinical, hematological and echocardiographic risk factors that predict the occurrence of atrial fibrillation related stroke. Also, clinical risk stratification has been used to determine medical therapy (aspirin or warfarin) for prevention of atrial fibrillation related brain embolization. Among the various structural heart diseases causing stroke, the role of patent foramen ovale remains controversial. Strides have been made in the use of ultrasonographic techniques such as transesophageal echocardiography and contrast transcranial doppler to detect patent foramen ovale. Coronary artery bypass grafting is often performed in patients with concomitant aortic atheroma and carotid stenosis that may predispose to stroke in the perioperative period. It is now possible to identify perioperatively significant aortic atherosclerosis (using transesophageal echocardiography and aortic ultrasound) and significant carotid disease (using carotid ultrasound) and make appropriate modifications in surgical technique to reduce the incidence of coronary artery bypass grafting related stroke. Because of shared risk factors it is not surprising that coronary artery disease is frequently found in stroke patients. Recent studies suggest that more than one‐third of stroke patients have asymptomatic coronary artery disease. Conversely, the brain damaged by infarction may itself be responsible for the production of cardiac structural and electrical abnormalities. Both these factors may contribute to the finding that cardiac events are the leading cause of death in stroke patients on long term follow‐up. Recognition of these correlations has enhanced our ability to treat and prevent stroke related mortality. Curr Opin Lipidol 11:51–56. © 1998 Rapid Science Ltd © Lippincott-Raven Publishers.