Etiologic Workup in Cases of Cryptogenic Stroke: A Systematic Review of International Clinical Practice Guidelines.

McMahon, Naoimh E, Bangee, Munirah, Benedetto, Valerio, Bray, Emma P, Georgiou, Rachel F, Gibson, Josephine ME, Lane, Deirdre A ORCID: 0000-0002-5604-9378, Al-Khalidi, A Hakam, Chatterjee, Kausik, Chauhan, Umesh
et al (show 5 more authors) (2020) Etiologic Workup in Cases of Cryptogenic Stroke: A Systematic Review of International Clinical Practice Guidelines. Stroke. STROKEAHA119027123 - STROKEAHA119027123.

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Background and Purpose- Identifying the etiology of acute ischemic stroke is essential for effective secondary prevention. However, in at least one third of ischemic strokes, existing investigative protocols fail to determine the underlying cause. Establishing etiology is complicated by variation in clinical practice, often reflecting preferences of treating clinicians and variable availability of investigative techniques. In this review, we systematically assess the extent to which there exists consensus, disagreement, and gaps in clinical practice recommendations on etiologic workup in acute ischemic stroke. Methods- We identified clinical practice guidelines/consensus statements through searches of 4 electronic databases and hand-searching of websites/reference lists. Two reviewers independently assessed reports for eligibility. We extracted data on report characteristics and recommendations relating to etiologic workup in acute ischemic stroke and in cases of cryptogenic stroke. Quality was assessed using the AGREE II tool (Appraisal of Guidelines for Research & Evaluation). Recommendations were synthesized according to a published algorithm for diagnostic evaluation in cryptogenic stroke. Results- We retrieved 16 clinical practice guidelines and 7 consensus statements addressing acute stroke management (n=12), atrial fibrillation (n=5), imaging (n=5), and secondary prevention (n=1). Five reports were of overall high quality. For all patients, guidelines recommended routine brain imaging, noninvasive vascular imaging, a 12-lead ECG, and routine blood tests/laboratory investigations. Additionally, ECG monitoring (>24 hours) was recommended for patients with suspected embolic stroke and echocardiography for patients with suspected cardiac source. Three reports recommended investigations for rarer causes of stroke. None of the reports provided guidance on the extent of investigation needed before classifying a stroke as cryptogenic. Conclusions- While consensus exists surrounding standard etiologic workup, there is little agreement on more advanced investigations for rarer causes of acute ischemic stroke. This gap in guidance, and in the underpinning evidence, demonstrates missed opportunities to better understand and protect against ongoing stroke risk. Registration- URL:; Unique identifier: CRD42019127822.

Item Type: Article
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 16 Apr 2020 10:35
Last Modified: 28 Dec 2021 09:10
DOI: 10.1161/strokeaha.119.027123