Artificial Intelligence-Enabled ECG to Identify Silent Atrial Fibrillation in Embolic Stroke of Unknown Source

Alejandro A. Rabinstein, Micah D. Yost, Louis Faust, Anthony H. Kashou, Omar S. Latif, Jonathan Graff-Radford, Itzhak Zachi Attia, Xiaoxi Yao, Peter A. Noseworthy, Paul A. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Embolic strokes of unknown source (ESUS) are common and often suspected to be caused by unrecognized paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (AF). An AI-enabled ECG (AI-ECG) during sinus rhythm has been shown to identify patients with unrecognized AF. We pursued this study to determine if the AI-ECG model differentiates between patients with ESUS and those with known causes of stroke, and to evaluate whether the AF prediction by AI-ECG among patients with ESUS was associated with the results of prolonged ambulatory cardiac rhythm monitoring. Materials and methods: We reviewed consecutive patients admitted with acute ischemic stroke to a comprehensive stroke center between January 2018 and August 2019 and employed the TOAST classification to categorize the mechanisms of ischemia. Use and results of ambulatory cardiac rhythm monitoring after discharge were gathered. We ran the AI-ECG model to obtain AF probabilities from all ECGs acquired during the hospitalization and compared those probabilities in patients with ESUS versus those with known stroke causes (apart from AF), and between patients with and without AF detected by ambulatory cardiac rhythm monitoring. Results: The study cohort had 930 patients, including 263 patients (28.3%) with known AF or AF diagnosed during the index hospitalization and 265 cases (28.5%) categorized as ESUS. Ambulatory cardiac rhythm monitoring was performed in 226 (85.3%) patients with ESUS. AF probability by AI-ECG was not associated with ESUS. However, among patients with ESUS, the probability of AF by AI-ECG was associated with a higher likelihood of AF detection by ambulatory monitoring (P = 0.004). A probability of AF by AI-ECG greater than 0.20 was associated with AF detection by ambulatory cardiac rhythm monitoring with an OR of 5.47 (95% CI 1.51–22.51). Conclusions: AI-ECG may help guide the use of prolonged ambulatory cardiac rhythm monitoring in patients with ESUS to identify those who might benefit from anticoagulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105998
JournalJournal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Cryptogenic stroke
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Embolic stroke of undetermined source

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Rehabilitation
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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