Department of Clinical Sciences, Faculty of medicine and pharmaceutical sciences, University of Douala, Douala General Hospital, 25019 Douala, Cameroon; Douala General Hospital, Douala, Cameroon. Electronic address: [Email]
BACKGROUND : Limited information is available about cardio-embolic stroke (CES) in sub-Saharan Africa. The aim of this study was to describe the epidemiology, clinical features, etiology, the management and outcome of CES in our setting. METHODS : A retrospective cohort study was carried out in the Douala General Hospital (DGH), using files of ischemic stroke patients admitted in the Neurological Unit and the Intensive Care Unit. Socio-demographic, clinical and paraclinical data were collected. After hospitalization, follow-up was performed with focus on mortality, stroke recurrence and the functional outcome assessed with Barthel score. Multivariate analysis was performed to determine the factors associated with death. RESULTS : Of the 704 stroke cases included, 368 were ischemic with 86 (23.4%) of them being cardio-embolic. The mean age of patient with CES was 67±13.3 years. The main etiologies of CES were: atrial fibrillation (82.1%), dilated cardiomyopathy (12.8%), and rheumatic mitral stenosis (5.1%). Anti-platelet agents were the most prescribed anti-thrombotic drugs (50.7%). The in-hospital mortality rate was 23.3% with lesion in both internal carotid arteries [OR=110.3; 95% CI: 1.2-1040.7; P=0.043] and heart disease [OR=46.9; 95% CI: 1.2-1789.9; P=0.038] appeared to be predictive of this. Stroke recurrence was observed in 8 patients (12.1%) and the survival probability in 5 years was 10%. Functional outcome was progressively worse with the systolic blood pressure>140mmHg (P=0.025) been the associated factor. CONCLUSIONS : CES accounted for 1/4 of ischemic stroke with a high risk of early death and long-term recurrence. Atrial fibrillation was the leading cause of CES. The association of VKA and anti-platelet agent should be avoided to reduce early death during acute stroke.