Cerebral embolism from cardiac source is an important cause of stroke, specially in patients younger than 45 years old.
Objective: To describe the transesophageal echocardiography (TEE) findings in young and non-young stroke patients without any prior evidence of cardiac source for cerebral embolism.
Method: Transversal study: 523 patients (267 men and 256 women) with ischemic stroke, without any evidence of cardiac abnormality, underwent to TEE.
Results: Ten percent were aged 45 years; or less. Left ventricle hypertrophy, left atrial enlargement, spontaneous contrast in aorta, interatrial septum aneurysm, mitral and aortic valve calcification, aortic valve regurgitation, and atherosclerotic plaques in aorta were significantly more frequent in patients aged more than 45 years; 2.8% of non-young patients had thrombus in left heart.
Conclusion: TEE is widely used to diagnose cardiac source of cerebral embolism in young patients, but it seems to be as useful for older ones, in whom cerebral embolism risk is underestimated; atherogenic and cardioembolic causes may actually coexist, and both should be treated.