The Importance of Aortic Arch Plaque Characteristics in Patients with Ischemic Stroke


Stroke is the fourth leading cause of death inUnites States and the leading cause of adult morbidity and disability in Europe (1). Ischemic stroke represents approximately 88% of all strokes
however, in NINDS (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke) database almost 40% of ischemic strokes are listed as cryptogenic strokes (2). In the context of secondary prevention, establishing an etiological diagnosis is essential when it comes to prescribing the optimal treatment for every patient. Routine evaluation of a stroke patient includes evaluation of cervico-cerebral vessels and also cardiological evaluation in order to rule out an atrial arrhythmia with embolic potential in cerebral circulation (3,4).
Between the heart and the carotid and vertebral arteries lies the aorta, an area difficult to explore. Latest data from the literature suggest an association between aortic arch atheromas and ischemic stroke, thus aortic atheromatosis may be the missing link, responsible for most of the cerebral infarctions of undetermined cause (5,6).