Atrial Fibrillation Detected after Stroke and Transient Ischemic Attack: A Novel Clinical Concept Challenging Current Views

Luciano A. Sposato, Seemant Chaturvedi, Cheng Yang Hsieh, Carlos A. Morillo, Hooman Kamel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Atrial fibrillation (AF) can be newly detected in approximately one-fourth of patients with ischemic stroke and transient ischemic attack without previously recognized AF. We present updated evidence supporting that AF detected after stroke or transient ischemic attack (AFDAS) may be a distinct clinical entity from AF known before stroke occurrence (known atrial fibrillation). Data suggest that AFDAS can arise from the interplay of cardiogenic and neurogenic forces. The embolic risk of AFDAS can be understood as a gradient defined by the prevalence of vascular comorbidities, the burden of AF, neurogenic autonomic changes, and the severity of atrial cardiopathy. The balance of existing data indicates that AFDAS has a lower prevalence of cardiovascular comorbidities, a lower degree of cardiac abnormalities than known atrial fibrillation, a high proportion (52%) of very brief (<30 seconds) AF paroxysms, and is more frequently associated with insular brain infarction. These distinctive features of AFDAS may explain its recently observed lower associated risk of stroke than known atrial fibrillation. We present an updated ad-hoc meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials in which the association between prolonged cardiac monitoring and reduced risk of ischemic stroke was nonsignificant (incidence rate ratio, 0.90 [95% CI, 0.71-1.15]). These findings highlight that larger and sufficiently powered randomized controlled trials of prolonged cardiac monitoring assessing the risk of stroke recurrence are needed. Meanwhile, we call for further research on AFDAS and stroke recurrence, and a tailored approach when using prolonged cardiac monitoring after ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack, focusing on patients at higher risk of AFDAS and, more importantly, at higher risk of cardiac embolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E94-E103
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • atrial fibrillation
  • brain infarction
  • incidence
  • ischemic attack, transient
  • prevalence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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