Aortic Debris Not a Risk Factor for Stroke

However, it is a marker for generalized atherosclerosis

THURSDAY, June 1 (HealthDay News) -- The presence of aortic debris is not an independent risk factor for cryptogenic ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack, according to a study in the May issue of the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

George W. Petty, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester Minn., and colleagues conducted a case-control study of 1,135 residents of Olmsted County, Minn., of which 520 were randomly selected controls who had not had cerebrovascular ischemic events (CIE) and 329 were controls without CIE but who had been referred for transesophageal echocardiography. A further 159 subjects were CIE cases of identifiable cause, and 127 were cryptogenic cases.

Complex atherosclerotic aortic debris was detected in all four groups -- 1.5 percent of random controls, 4 percent of selected controls, 9.4 percent of noncryptogenic and 3.1 percent of cryptogenic CIE cases. There was no significant association between group status and the presence of aortic debris once the data had been adjusted for other factors such as age, sex, hypertension and smoking.

"These findings indicate that embolism from the thoracic aorta is an uncommon mechanism of ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack," the authors conclude, adding that further studies are needed to determine whether aortic debris is a marker for other risk factors or is indeed an independent factor in its own right, as some referral-based studies have suggested.

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Jane Parry

Jane Parry

Updated on June 01, 2006

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