Cardioembolic stroke accounts for 1 out of every 5 to 6 ischemic strokes. A potential cardiac source should be considered in all patients presenting with ischemic neurologic deficits. A clear understanding of the various types of cardiac conditions associated with cardioembolic stroke is important. This article reviews potential cardiac sources of emboli and discusses the role of anticoagulation in both primary and secondary prevention of cardioembolic stroke. The role of echocardiography in evaluating patients with possible cardioembolic stroke is also addressed, and an algorithm is proposed for the use of echocardiography in evaluating patients with ischemic neurologic deficits.
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