Embolic stroke after smoking "crack" cocaine

Stroke. 1990 Nov;21(11):1632-5. doi: 10.1161/01.str.21.11.1632.


A 39-year-old woman had an embolic upper division middle cerebral artery branch occlusion 3 hours after smoking the free base of cocaine ("crack"). Radionuclide ventriculography demonstrated cardiomyopathy, and echocardiography documented a left atrial thrombus. This case demonstrates that embolism is one mechanism of ischemic stroke after cocaine use, and that cardiomyopathy, possibly cocaine induced, may be the source of embolus. A cardiac source of embolus should be sought in patients with cocaine-associated cerebral infarction.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / etiology*
  • Cocaine / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intracranial Embolism and Thrombosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Intracranial Embolism and Thrombosis / etiology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Cocaine