Stroke as the first manifestation of calcific aortic stenosis

Cerebrovasc Dis. 2000 Sep-Oct;10(5):413-6. doi: 10.1159/000016099.


Heart valve calcifications are rarely recognized as a potential source for cerebral embolism. Previous studies have identified mitral, but not aortic, valve calcifications to be risk factors for stroke. Based on these studies, heart surgery is unlikely to be indicated in patients who present with a stroke and an 'incidental' aortic valve calcification. We report a case of a 46-year-old man presenting with acute onset of left-sided weakness and numbness. A previous smoking history was the only cardiovascular risk factor found. Head CT scan revealed a right middle cerebral artery territory infarct and an adjacent high-density lesion. CT angiography demonstrated the presence of calcific embolic material in the middle cerebral artery. A search for embolic sources revealed a calcific aortic stenosis (CAS). Initially placed on coumadin, the patient developed silent myocardial infarction 2 months later, presumed to be also embolic in origin from the CAS. After aortic valve replacement, the patient has been symptom-free during a 2-year follow-up. In conclusion, CT angiography may be the method of choice for detecting calcific cerebral emboli, and demonstration of a causal relationship between CAS and an embolic stroke by CT angiography may be an important adjunct in surgical decision-making.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Aortic Valve Stenosis / diagnosis*
  • Calcinosis / diagnosis*
  • Cerebral Angiography
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Humans
  • Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Embolism / diagnostic imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / diagnosis
  • Stroke / diagnostic imaging*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed