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Sources of cerebral emboli include:

  • cardiac - especially due to atrial fibrillation

  • carotid, vertebral or basilar arteries - usually due to atherosclerosis complicated by stenosis and ulceration; rarely, due to a dissecting aneurysm

  • paradoxical emboli - especially, from deep vein thrombosis

  • traumatic - fat or air emboli

  • iatrogenic - following cardiac surgery, cardiac catheterisation or cerebral angiography

Last reviewed 01/2018