Atrial cardiopathy: a mechanism of cryptogenic stroke
Cryptogenic stroke accounts for approximately 30% of all ischemic strokes. Recently, atrial cardiopathy diagnosed by the presence of one of its serum, imaging, or electrocardiogram biomarkers has been shown to be associated with ischemic stroke, particularly of embolic subtypes. Areas covered: This paper aims to summarize data on occult atrial fibrillation and stroke, provide an overview on mechanisms, such as inflammation and fibrosis, of stroke in atrial cardiopathy, critically review data on biomarkers of atrial cardiopathy and their association with stroke, and suggest therapeutic implications, including directions for future research. Expert commentary: Atrial cardiopathy may constitute one of the mechanisms in cryptogenic stroke, and patients with evidence of atrial cardiopathy constitute a group of patients in whom clinical trials are warranted to test anticoagulation versus antiplatelet therapy to reduce stroke recurrence risk. In addition, more studies are needed to determine the degree of overlap between these atrial cardiopathy biomarkers and which one is more useful in predicting the risk of stroke and response to anticoagulation therapy.