Atheroma of the aortic arch: An important and poorly recognised factor in the aetiology of stroke

Malcolm R. Macleod*, Pierre Amarenco, Stephen M. Davis, Geoffrey A. Donnan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Atrial fibrillation and severe carotid-artery stenosis are well-characterised risk factors for stroke; each is present in about a fifth of patients. The identification of such risk factors in patients is important because their presence calls for specific secondary prevention strategies. One region of the circulation that has received limited attention as a source of thrombus is the aortic arch. However, aortic arch atheroma is a common post-mortem finding, and it seems reasonable to speculate that atheroma might give rise to thrombi with distal embolism to the arterial tree, including the cerebral circulation. Here we review the evidence for aortic-arch atheroma as an important independent risk factor for stroke, and show that studies of the risk of stroke indicate a four times greater odds of stroke in patients with severe arch atheroma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)408-414
Number of pages7
JournalLancet Neurology
Volume3
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2004

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