Diagnostic Evaluation of Stroke Etiology

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE Precise therapies require precise diagnoses. This article provides an evidence-based approach to confirming the diagnosis of ischemic stroke, characterizing comorbidities that provide insights into the pathophysiologic mechanisms of stroke, and identifying targets for treatment to optimize the prevention of recurrent stroke. LATEST DEVELOPMENTS Identifying the presence of patent foramen ovale, intermittent atrial fibrillation, and unstable plaque is now routinely included in an increasingly nuanced workup in patients with stroke, even as ongoing trials seek to clarify the best approaches for treating these and other comorbidities. Multicenter trials have demonstrated the therapeutic utility of patent foramen ovale closure in select patients younger than age 60 years. Insertable cardiac monitors detect atrial fibrillation lasting more than 30 seconds in about one in ten patients monitored for 12 months following a stroke. MRI of carotid plaque can detect unstable plaque at risk of being a source of cerebral embolism. ESSENTIAL POINTS To optimize the prevention of recurrent stroke, it is important to consider pathologies of intracranial and extracranial blood vessels and of cardiac structure and rhythm as well as other inherited or systemic causes of stroke. Some aspects of the stroke workup should be done routinely, while other components will depend on the clinical circumstances and preliminary testing results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)412-424
Number of pages13
JournalCONTINUUM Lifelong Learning in Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Genetics(clinical)


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