Holter monitoring for 24 hours in patients with thromboembolic stroke and sinus rhythm diagnosed in the emergency department

Adv Ther. Nov-Dec 2006;23(6):854-60. doi: 10.1007/BF02850206.


It is well known that patients with ischemic stroke show ST-T abnormalities and various rhythm abnormalities on an electrocardiogram (ECG). The most commonly encountered rhythm abnormality is atrial fibrillation. It was recently shown that paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (PAF) is an important causative factor in patients with stroke. Detection of PAF is important in identifying the cause, prognosis, and treatment in patients with thromboembolic stroke. Investigators in the present study followed patients with thromboembolic stroke who had been admitted to the emergency department in sinus rhythm; 24-h Holter monitoring was used, and patients were assessed at referral and every 6 h for 24 h with ECG, which was used to detect rhythm disturbances, especially PAF. In 26 patients with stroke who came to the emergency department, acute thromboembolic stroke was diagnosed on the basis of magnetic resonance imaging; no rhythm abnormalities were noted on Holter monitoring. Eighteen patients were male and 8 were female (mean age: 66+/-13 y). Arrhythmia was identified on ECG in 3 patients (11%) and on 24-h Holter monitoring in 24 patients (92%). PAF was diagnosed in 3 patients (11%) on ECG and in 11 patients (42%) on Holter monitoring. In 2 patients, nonsustained ventricular tachycardia was detected only on Holter monitoring, which was found to be significantly superior to ECG for the detection of arrhythmias (P<.001). Investigators found no significant relationship between PAF and variables such as hypertension, diabetes, coronary artery disease, history of myocardial infarction, ST-T changes, and elevations in cardiac markers. However, a significant relationship (P<.01) was seen between nonsustained ventricular tachycardia and a history of myocardial infarction. No relationship was discerned between arrhythmia and stroke localization. Study results suggested that (1) PAF is a commonly diagnosed rhythm abnormality, and (2) Holter monitoring is superior to routine ECG for the detection of arrhythmias such as PAF in patients anticipated to have thromboembolic stroke with sinus rhythm.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Arrhythmia, Sinus / complications*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / diagnosis*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / etiology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / pathology
  • Brain Ischemia / complications*
  • Echoencephalography
  • Electrocardiography, Ambulatory*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Stroke / blood
  • Stroke / complications*
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / diagnosis
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / etiology
  • Thromboembolism / complications*