BACKGROUND: Cardioembolic stroke (CES) accounts for 20-30% of ischemic strokes. We attempted to describe the complications of CES. METHODS: We analyzed a cohort of CES patients from the VISTA database who were not given thrombolytics. RESULTS: 397 patients were included. Recurrent stroke occurred in 2.5% (10/397); stroke progression in 7.8% (31/397); systemic bleeding in 3% (12/397), and hemorrhagic transformation (HT) in 1.5% (6/397). A bimodal temporal distribution was observed for HT. The mortality rate was 103/397 (25.9%) and was associated with stroke progression and recurrence. CONCLUSIONS: HT is common in CES patients and presents in a bimodal distribution. Stroke progression is the most frequent serious complication. Further study is indicated to identify predictors of stroke progression.
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