Elevated troponin levels are found in a significant number of patients who are diagnosed with acute embolic stroke (AES) after first diagnosed atrial fibrillation (AF). These myocardial injuries, which are known as cardiocerebral infarction (CCI), are potentially caused by coronary embolism and correspond to simultaneous cardiac and cerebral embolisms. However, this severe condition remains poorly understood. In this prospective study, we aimed to investigate the prevalence and the cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) characteristics of CCI.
Consecutive patients with first diagnosed AF hospitalized for AES in a neurovascular intensive care unit from 2019 to 2020 were included. Troponin Ic kinetic were measured <72 h, MRI and coronary angiography or CT scan were performed <7 days after admission. Patients with significant coronary lesions were excluded.
During the study period, 1150 patients with strokes were hospitalized in the neurovascular intensive care unit (ICU). Of these patients, 955 had an ischemic stroke and 97 had a transient ischemic attack. Among the 44 patients with AES and with first diagnosed AF, 34 patients underwent CMR and CMR analysis identified 12 MI. A significant rise in troponin (>0.10 µg/L) was observed in 35% of the total population (12/34 patients). More specifically, a rise was seen in 23% of the AES without MI group, 58% of the AES with MI. In addition, coronary embolism was identified in 3 patients who underwent coronary angiography (3/12) and MI was often (30%) localized in infero-latero-medial and infero-apical segments. Most AES were localized in the superficial sylvian territory.
We found a high prevalence of CMR-confirmed double embolization sites in the acute phase of an embolic stroke. Further studies are required to better characterize the pathophysiology, clinical course and prognostic value of CCI. Moreover, optimal management strategies, including antiplatelet therapy, remain to be determined.

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