CRYPTOGENIC (UNEXPLAINED) STROKE
A stroke happens when a blood vessel in the brain is suddenly blocked or bursts, resulting in damage to the brain tissue.
The majority of all strokes are ischemic, which means they occur as a result of an obstruction, such as a blood clot, within the blood vessel. This blockage prevents or greatly reduces the delivery of oxygen and essential nutrients to the brain.
In some cases, despite testing during the hospital stay, the cause of a stroke cannot be determined. This is what is known as a “cryptogenic” stroke or a stroke of unknown cause. It’s estimated that 25-30% of ischemic strokes are cryptogenic or unexplained.1
Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is a major risk factor for stroke. It’s a common condition in which the upper chambers of the heart beat very fast and irregularly. As a result, blood is not pumped effectively to the rest of the body and may pool and clot. If a clot dislodges, it can travel to the brain and result in a stroke. People with AFib are five times more likely to have a stroke.2
Having a stroke means you are at greater risk for having another (recurrent) stroke. At least 1 in 4 Americans who have a stroke will have another stroke within their lifetime.3 Determining the cause of your stroke will help your physician take steps to minimize the risk of having a recurrent stroke.
Heart monitoring can detect if and when you experience AFib to help your doctor manage your treatment.
These quick and easy tools are designed to provide your doctor with information that may help guide your care. Complete them and take the answers to your next doctor’s visit.
- Liao J, Khalid Z, Scallan C, Morillo C, O’Donnell M. Noninvasive cardiac monitoring for detecting paroxysmal atrial fibrillation or flutter after acute ischemic stroke: a systematic review. Stroke 2007;38:2935–2940.
- 2014; 370(26):2478-2486.American Heart Association. Wolf PA, Abbott RD, Kannel WB. Atrial fibrillation as an independent risk factor for stroke: The Framingham Study. Stroke. August 1991;22(8):983-988. Accessed October 2013.
- National Stroke Association. http://www.stroke.org/we-can-help/survivors/stroke-recovery/first-steps-recovery/preventing-another-stroke. Accessed 9/17/15.