Finding out why a stroke took place is key to preventing a second one, Elizabeth Tracey reports


For people who’ve had a stroke, finding out why will dictate their management going forward, with a pair of new studies showing that an implantable monitor to look for atrial fibrillation, where part of the heart doesn’t beat in synchrony, may help for some patients. Michele Johansen, a stroke expert at Johns Hopkins, explains.

Johansen: Secondary prevention of stroke is where finding the cause of the stroke really matters. And so when you talk about atrial fibrillation, that is the most common cause of what’s called a cardioembolic stroke. So cardioembolic stroke just meaning that the clot came from the heart, broke off and went to the brain. The reason that finding atrial fibrillation is patients that have had strokes, is that the way that you treat patients who have atrial fibrillation is different than the way that you treat other patients who have strokes.  :28

Johansen notes that for those with atrial fibrillation, or a-fib, as it is often abbreviated, certain medicines are indicated that are not used in those with other causes of stroke. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.