Features December 2014 Issue

Cryptogenic Strokes Require  Extensive Follow-up Investigation

The dark portion of the brain's arteries (lower left) show unexplained blood flow interruption, resulting in a cryptogenic stroke.

Cryptogenic Strokes Require Extensive Follow-up Investigation

Research shows that evaluating patients for atrial fibrillation is important after a stroke without an obvious cause.

You may be familiar with the classic risk factors for stroke, such as atrial fibrillation (AF) and blockage in the arteries supplying blood to the brain. In the majority of strokes, the cause of the event is easily determined. But in a surprisingly large number of strokes­­—perhaps as many as 40 percent­—the cause isn’t immediately known. These are called cryptogenic strokes, and they can be frustrating for patients and physicians alike as they seek ways to prevent a second stroke.

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