Each year, about one third of ischemic strokes in the United States — about 200,000 — are classified as cryptogenic (no definitive cause). The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s Cryptogenic Stroke Initiative, sponsored by Medtronic, is elevating the issue of cryptogenic stroke.
With limited guidelines, many professionals diagnose and treat cryptogenic stroke differently. Understanding the complex issues in treating cryptogenic patients can reduce stroke recurrence and improve outcomes.
Atrial fibrillation (afib or AF) is one of the potential causes of cryptogenic stroke — increasing risk five times. AF can go undetected because it often has no symptoms and may occur infrequently. Other causes for cryptogenic stroke include Patent Foreman Ovale (PFO), inherited thrombophilias, aortic arch plaque, infectious, autoimmune and inflammatory states.