Embolic strokes of unknown source and cryptogenic stroke: Implications in clinical practice

Amre Nouh, Mohammed Hussain, Tapan Mehta, Shadi Yaghi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Up to a third of strokes are rendered cryptogenic or of undetermined etiology. This number is specifically higher in younger patients. At times, inadequate diagnostic workups, multiple causes, or an under-recognized etiology contributes to this statistic. Embolic stroke of undetermined source, a new clinical entity particularly refers to patients with embolic stroke for whom the etiology of embolism remains unidentified despite through investigations ruling out established cardiac and vascular sources. In this article, we review current classification and discuss important clinical considerations in these patients; highlighting cardiac arrhythmias and structural abnormalities, patent foramen ovale, paradoxical sources, and potentially under-recognized, vascular, inflammatory, autoimmune, and hematologic sources in relation to clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number37
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
Issue numberMAR
StatePublished - Mar 21 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Nouh, Hussain, Mehta and Yaghi.


  • Aortic arch atherosclerosis
  • Cardiac monitoring
  • Cryptogenic stroke
  • Embolic stroke of undetermined source
  • Hypercoagulable state
  • Paroxysmal atrial fibrillation
  • Patent foramen ovale


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