Potential Utility of Multidetector Computed Tomography to Identify both Cardiac Embolic Sources and Coronary Artery Disease in Patients with Embolic Stroke

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Our objective was to study the potential utility of multidetector computed tomography (MDCT) to identify both cardiac embolic sources and coronary artery disease (CAD) in embolic-stroke patients.


We performed MDCT for 184 patients with embolic stroke but without known CAD. Twenty-six patients had atrial fibrillation. We investigated the prevalence of the potential source of the embolism and the coronary characteristics.


Overall, 64 potential embolic sources were detected in 59 patients (32.1%). Left atrial appendage thrombus, left ventricular thrombus and aortic atheroma were detected in 3.3, 0.5 and 15.8% of patients, respectively. Circulatory stasis and patent foramen ovale were detected in 8.7 and 6.5%, respectively. As for coronary calcium score, only 47 patients (25.5%) had a score of zero and 51 (27.7%) had a score of ≥400. Significant CAD was detected in 18 patients (9.8%). One hundred and thirty-seven (74.5%) had coronary plaques. The prevalence of positive remodeling, low-attenuation plaque, spotty calcification and a napkin-ring sign was 7.1, 1.6, 5.4 and 2.7%, respectively. Importantly, only 34 patients (13.0%) had no abnormalities detected by MDCT.


Our results suggest that MDCT has potential to identify both cardiac embolic sources and CAD in patients with embolic stroke but without known CAD.

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