Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Cerebral Embolism

  • Elliot J. RothEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_2166


Embolic stroke


A cerebral embolism is a blood clot (thrombus) that starts from the heart or blood vessel where the clot originates and stops in an artery that leads to or rests within the brain. The result is occlusion of the vessel and obstruction of the flow of oxygen and blood to the brain tissue supplied by that artery.

Current Knowledge

Cerebral embolisms cause about 15–20% of all strokes and about one-quarter of all ischemic strokes. It occurs most frequently in patients who have known heart disease, including atrial fibrillation and other arrhythmias, valve disease, “mural thrombus” (a blood clot sitting in the left ventricle of the heart), or other conditions. It causes symptoms similar to those of thrombotic strokes, but the presentations of embolic strokes tend to be more abrupt and dramatic. These can include sudden onset of hemiplegia, sensory loss, facial weakness, cognitive deficits, or speech disturbance. Seizures or headaches are relatively common in...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Readings

  1. DiTullio, M. R., & Homma, S. (2002). Mechanisms of cardioembolic stroke. Current Cardiology Reports, 4, 141–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Fuster, V., Rydén, L. E., Cannom, D. S., Crijns, H. J., Curtis, A. B., & Ellenbogen, K. A. (2006). ACC/AHA/ESC 2006 guidelines for the management of patients with atrial fibrillation: A report of the American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines and the European Society of Cardiology Committee for Practice Guidelines (Writing Committee to Revise the 2001 guidelines for the management of patients with atrial fibrillation): Developed in collaboration with the European Heart Rhythm Association and the Heart Rhythm Society. Circulation, 114, e257–e354.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Hart, R. G., Pearce, L. A., & Aguilar, M. I. (2007). Meta-analysis: Antithrombotic therapy to prevent stroke in patients who have nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Annals of Internal Medicine, 146, 857–867.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Medicine and RehabilitationNorthwestern University, Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA