[Holter monitoring in patients with focal cerebral ischaemic attacks (author's transl)].Nouv Presse Med. 1981 Jul 11-25; 10(30):2491-4.NP
One hundred patients with focal cerebral ischaemic attacks of suspected embolic origin were investigated by Holter monitoring to determine whether paroxysmal arrhythmia may have been responsible for the episodes. There were 57 men and 43 women aged from 16 to 79 years (mean 50 years). Ninety-seven had residual focal neurological deficits and 3 had transient ischaemic attacks. The neurological lesions were verified by cerebral angiography in 68. Twenty-one had arterial hypertension and 9 had old myocardial infarction or angina. Nine had a history of palpitations. None had cardiac valve disease. All patients were in sinus rhythm, 4 had ventricular extrasystoles on routine ECG, and 4 had supraventricular extrasystoles. None of the patients were receiving anti-arrythmic drugs at the time of investigation. Holter monitoring was performed for 18 hours in 91 cases and for 24-54 hours in the remaining ones. The interval between the cerebral ischaemic attack and the monitoring was less than one month (mean 20 days) for 50 patients and longer for the others. Cardiac arrythmias were found in 36 patients. Sixteen had more than 10 supraventricular extrasystoles per hour, 13 had runs of 3 to 8 beats of supraventricular tachycardia, 1 had an episode of atrial fibrillation. Eighteen subjects had more than 5 ventricular extrasystoles per hour, 1 had accelerated ventricular rhythm, 2 had runs of 4 to 7 beats of ventricular tachycardia. Two patients had second degree A.V. block. None had palpitations during monitoring. Arrythmias were increasingly frequent with age. Our findings are similar to those obtained with monitoring in ambulatory asympatomatic subjects of the same age without apparent heart diseases reported by other authors. On the other hand, the frequency of arrythmia was unrelated to the time elapsed between the ischaemic attack and Holter monitoring. In conclusion, Holter monitoring performed several weeks after suspected cerebral embolism failed to reveal arrythmias likely to be responsible for a focal cerebral ischaemic attack.