Cardiac embolism

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A cardiac embolism is the discharge of a thrombus over the heart into the arterial bloodstream . This often results in a complete or partial closure of the supply area of ​​the affected arteries. Cardiac embolism is one of the most common causes of stroke . A cardiac embolism is the cause of around 20% of all strokes . Another possible consequence of a cardiac embolism is acute vascular occlusion of arteries in the extremities or internal organs.


The most common causes of cardiac embolism are absolute arrhythmia in atrial fibrillation and dilated cardiomyopathy . Other favorable factors are cardiac valve involvement in endocarditis , aneurysm formation of the left ventricle or the atrial septum, and a persistent foramen ovale . General risk factors for cardiac embolism are high blood pressure , diabetes mellitus , old age and lipid metabolism disorders.


Cardiac arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation can be diagnosed with an EKG . With the help of an echocardiography , for example, aneurysms of the heart wall or valve defects can be detected.

Prophylaxis and therapy

The therapy of a cardiac embolism that has taken place depends on the symptoms and the location of the damage. In addition to thrombolysis , angiography or rheological measures, percutaneous or surgical thrombectomies are also possible. Prophylaxis includes the drug treatment of cardiac arrhythmias and anticoagulation therapy . An open foramen ovale can be closed during a cardiac catheter examination .

Individual evidence

  1. Heinz Lambertz (editor), Harald Lethen (editor): Transesophageal echocardiography: teaching atlas for examination techniques and reliable interpretation of findings
  2. Markus Dietl et al .: Cause of stroke and need for long-term care . Advances in Neurology & Psychiatry: 77, 12, 2009, pp. 714–719
  3. Heinz-Walter Delank, Walter Gehlen: Neurology 2011 Georg Thieme Verlag
  4. Frank Wappler (editor), Peter Tonner (editor), Hartmut Bürkle (editor): Anesthesia and concomitant diseases: Perioperative management of the sick patient