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Neurogenic cardiac outcome in patients after acute ischemic stroke: The brain and heart connection

      Abstract

      Background

      Neurogenic cardiac impairment can occur after acute ischemic stroke (AIS), but the mapping of the neuroanatomic correlation of stroke-related myocardial injury remains uncertain. This study aims to identify the association between cardiac outcomes and middle cerebral artery (MCA) ischemic stroke, with or without insular cortex involvement, as well as the impact of new-onset atrial fibrillation (AF) after AIS on recurrent stroke.

      Methods

      Serial measurements of high sensitivity troponin T (TnT), brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), electrocardiography (ECG), echocardiogram, and cardiac monitoring were performed on 415 patients with imaging confirmed MCA stroke, with or without insular involvement. Patients with renal failure, recent cardiovascular events, or congestive heart failure were excluded.

      Results

      One hundred fifteen patients (28%) had left MCA infarcts with insular involvement, 122 (29%) had right MCA infarcts involving insular cortex, and 178 (43%) had no insular involvement. Patients with left MCA stroke with insular involvement tended to exhibit higher BNP and TnI, and transient cardiac dysfunction, which mimicked Takotsubo cardiomyopathy in 10 patients with left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) of 20-40%. Incidence of new-onset AF was higher in right MCA stroke involving insula (39%) than left MCA involving insula (4%). Nine out of fifty-three patients with new-onset AF were not on anticoagulant therapy due to various reasons; none of them experienced recurrent AF or stroke during up to a 3-year follow-up period. Statistically significant correlations between BNP or TnT elevation and left insular infarcts, as well as the incidence of AF and right insular infarcts, were revealed using linear regression analysis.

      Conclusions

      The present study demonstrated that acute left MCA stroke with insular involvement could cause transient cardiac dysfunction and elevated cardiac enzymes without persistent negative outcomes in the setting of health baseline cardiac condition. The incidence of new-onset AF was significantly higher in patients with right MCA stroke involving the insula. There was no increased risk of recurrent ischemic stroke in nine patients with newly developed AF who were not on anticoagulant therapy, which indicated a need for further research on presumed neurogenic AF and its management.

      Key Words

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