Cardioembolic (CE) risks is usually considered as the main mechanism of ischemic stroke in non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) patients. However, a substantial number of ischemic strokes in NVAF patients are related to non-CE mechanisms. The aim of this study was to investigate the non-CE risk factors in ischemic stroke patients had NVAF.
We included 401 patients (65.6% male, 68.6 ± 9.6 years old) who had been hospitalized due to ischemic stroke and had a known or newly diagnosed NVAF. The CE (intracardiac thrombus, dense spontaneous echo contrast, or low left atrial appendage flow velocity) and non-CE (complex aortic plaque, significant carotid stenosis, or intracranial arterial stenosis) risk factors were investigated at the time of the index stroke.
The number of CE and non-CE risk factors increased with increasing CHA 2DS 2-VASc scores (p for trends < 0.001). The presence of CE risk factors was independently associated with persistent atrial fibrillation (p < 0.001), body mass index (p = 0.003), heart failure (p = 0.003), and left atrial volume index (p < 0.001). In contrast, the presence of non-CE risk factors was independently associated with age (p < 0.001), hypertension (p = 0.049), diabetes (p = 0.030), and coronary artery calcium score (CACS; p < 0.001). CACS had the added value in predicting non-CE risk factors of ischemic stroke regardless of the CHA 2DS 2-VASc risk category (p < 0.001).