21 Feb Implanted cardiac monitor identifies stroke risk better than traditional methods
A cardiac monitor about the size of a USB flash drive that’s implanted under the skin was six to seven times more likely to detect atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm that’s a risk factor for stroke, according to a science report presented at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2014.
The monitor could help identify the 30 percent of ischemic strokes with no apparent cause. Ischemic strokes are caused by a clot in a blood vessel in or near the brain.
“Atrial fibrillation can be difficult to detect due to its sometimes intermittent nature, and the fact that it isn’t always accompanied by symptoms,” said Richard A. Bernstein, M.D., Ph.D., an author of the new study and professor of neurology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “For a patient who has had an unexplained stroke, it’s really important to determine if they have AF, because left untreated, it could result in a second and even more devastating stroke.”