Atrial fibrillation and stroke: A review and new insights

Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2023 Jan;33(1):23-29. doi: 10.1016/j.tcm.2021.12.001. Epub 2021 Dec 7.


The link between heart and brain continues to be a matter of great interest for the scientific community. One of the most established associations between the two is that the heart is a significant source of emboli and is responsible for 20-25% of all ischemic strokes. The most frequent underlying cause of cardioembolic stroke is atrial fibrillation (AF), a disease that affects almost 3 million people in the USA and 4.5 million in Europe. AF increases the risk of ischemic stroke by a factor of 3 to 5 times. It is estimated that AF is responsible for 15% of all strokes worldwide. A more comprehensive understanding of this association and development of intensive stroke prevention measures are needed, as we know that AF incidence and prevalence will increase over the coming years, becoming one of the largest epidemics and public health challenges we face.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; Ischemic stroke; Prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Atrial Fibrillation* / diagnosis
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / epidemiology
  • Atrial Fibrillation* / therapy
  • Brain Ischemia* / epidemiology
  • Embolism*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Risk Factors
  • Stroke* / diagnosis
  • Stroke* / epidemiology
  • Stroke* / etiology