What is the role of ECG in the workup of basilar artery thrombosis?

Updated: Jan 11, 2019
  • Author: Salvador Cruz-Flores, MD, MPH, FAHA, FCCM, FAAN, FACP, FANA; Chief Editor: Helmi L Lutsep, MD  more...
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Answer

Electrocardiography (ECG) should be performed in all patients during the initial evaluation because it can reveal paroxysmal arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation. Additionally, the prevalence of coronary disease is high in patients with cerebrovascular disease.

Ischemic changes seen on ECG should be investigated further with serum creatine kinase measurements, cardiac isoenzyme profiles, and/or troponin levels for the following reasons:

  • Of patients with acute stroke, 5-20% have an arrhythmia.

  • Additionally, 2-3% have a myocardial infarction.

  • The presence of arrhythmias (eg, atrial fibrillation) has an impact on the long-term management plan for stroke prevention


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