The cardiologic evaluation of patients with cerebral ischaemia should be aimed at: (1) identifying potential cardiac sources for cerebral emboli, (2) detecting a coexisting ischaemic heart disease, even asymptomatic. The present data concerns a ten-year experience of a systematic cardiologic evaluation of patients admitted to the 1st Division of Neurosurgery, Bellaria Hospital, Bologna, Italy, for cerebral ischaemia. A two-dimensional echocardiography was carried out in 344 consecutive patients (mean age 53 years), cardiac abnormalities were observed in 92 (28%) out of the 328 cases with technically adequate examination, embologenic lesions in 57 (17%). In 18 cases the cardiac lesion was unknown before the cerebral event. An exercise ECG testing was carried out in 322 patients (mean age 56 years), resulting in abnormal in 69 out of the 258 with adequate examination (17%). A subsequent exercise 201Tl myocardial scintigraphy confirmed the presence of ischaemic heart disease in 58 cases. Among patients unable to perform an adequate exercise, a dipyridamole 201Tl myocardial scintigraphy was performed in 38 cases showing perfusional defects in 23 (60%), while a dipyridamole echocardiography was performed in 25 cases showing wall motion abnormalities in 9 (36%). A 24-h Holter monitoring was performed in 65 cases: arrhythmias were detected in 27 patients (41%), but a correlation with the cerebral event was suggested only in 3 cases with atrial fibrillation. According to our experience patients with recent cerebral ischaemia should be submitted to the following non-invasive cardiologic screening: (1) exercise ECG testing followed, if abnormal or indeterminant, by 201Tl myocardial scintigraphy in all patients. In those unable to exercise dipyridamole 201Tl myocardial scintigraphy or dipyridamole echocardiography; (2) two-dimensional echocardiography in patients without carotid lesions at cerebral angiography and in all patients aged ≤45 years. (3) Holter monitoring only in selected cases with suspected atrial fibrillation or sick sinus syndrome.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology