Coagulation markers and echocardiography predict atrial fibrillation, malignancy or recurrent stroke after cryptogenic stroke

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We evaluated the utility of left atrial volume index (LAVI) and markers of coagulation and hemostatic activation (MOCHA) in cryptogenic stroke (CS) patients to identify those more likely to have subsequent diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AF), malignancy or recurrent stroke during follow-up.Consecutive CS patients who met embolic stroke of undetermined source (ESUS) who underwent transthoracic echocardiography and outpatient cardiac monitoring following stroke were identified from the Emory cardiac registry. In a subset of consecutive patients, d-dimer, prothrombin fragment 1.2, thrombin-antithrombin complex and fibrin monomer (MOCHA panel) were obtained ≥2 weeks post-stroke and repeated ≥4 weeks later if abnormal; abnormal MOCHA panel was defined as ≥2 elevated markers which did not normalize when repeated. We assessed the predictive abilities of LAVI and the MOCHA panel to identify patients with subsequent diagnosis of AF, malignancy, recurrent stroke or the composite outcome during follow-up.Of 94 CS patients (mean age 64 ± 15 years, 54% female, 63% non-white, mean follow-up 1.4 ± 0.8 years) who underwent prolonged cardiac monitoring, 15 (16%) had new AF. Severe LA enlargement (vs normal) was associated with AF (P < .06). In 42 CS patients with MOCHA panel testing (mean follow-up 1.1 ± 0.6 years), 14 (33%) had the composite outcome and all had abnormal MOCHA. ROC analysis showed LAVI and abnormal MOCHA together outperformed either test alone with good predictive ability for the composite outcome (AUC 0.84).We report the novel use of the MOCHA panel in CS patients to identify a subgroup of patients more likely to have occult AF, occult malignancy or recurrent stroke during follow-up. A normal MOCHA panel identified a subgroup of CS patients at low risk for recurrent stroke on antiplatelet therapy. Further study is warranted to evaluate whether the combination of an elevated LAVI and abnormal MOCHA panel identifies a subgroup of CS patients who may benefit from early anticoagulation for secondary stroke prevention.

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Aged; Antithrombin III; Atrial Fibrillation; Biomarkers; Blood Coagulation; Brain Ischemia; Echocardiography; Female; Fibrin Fibrinogen Degradation Products; Humans; Male; Middle Aged; Neoplasms; Peptide Fragments; Peptide Hydrolases; Prospective Studies; Prothrombin; ROC Curve; Recurrence; Registries; Retrospective Studies; Risk Factors

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