A temible complication of ischemic stroke: pulmonary embolism

Linda Iurato, Giovanna Randisi, Josita Torrisi, Roberto Grimaldi, Grazia Naso, Sara Verniccio, Clorinda Occhipinti, Michele Maria Vecchio

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7175/cmi.v9i4.1196


Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability and is the third highest cause of death in the western world. Medical illness after ischemic stroke contribute substantially to poor stroke outcomes. The early in-hospital complications of stroke patients are mainly: pneumonia (hospital acquired pulmonary infection), increased intracranial pressure (neuroimaging evidence of cerebral edema or brain shift syndrome with clinical deterioration), urinary tract infection, intracerebral bleeding, recurrent stroke, epileptic seizures, thrombosis or pulmonary embolism. All these complications influence the patient’s outcomes and require diagnostic and therapeutic measures.

Pulmonary embolism is a major contributor to in-hospital death after stroke. Although the rate of clinically overt pulmonary embolism after stroke has been estimated to be less than 1%, pulmonary emboli account for up to 50% of early deaths after stroke. In daily practice, the clinical burden of pulmonary embolism in patient with stroke is, however, underestimated since the clinical symptoms of stroke may obscure the recognition of this complication. The aim of this article is to describe the clinical and therapeutic aspects of pulmonary embolism as complication after stroke.


Ischemic stroke; Pulmonary embolism; Complications

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