INTRODUCTION: Premature atrial complexes (PACs) have been proposed as a possible mediator between normal sinus rhythm and atrial fibrillation (AF). The aim of this study was to summarize the available knowledge of association between PACs and recurrent stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) in ischemic stroke patients. Areas covered: In this systematic review, we investigated the risk of recurrent events in patients who experienced ischemic stroke or TIA. Occurrence of PACs in electrocardiographic monitoring after index stroke/TIA was required. We identified and included three observational cohort studies, investigating in total 1005 patients. The studies reported that a significant burden of PACs occurred in a high proportion of stroke and TIA patients. More PACs were independently associated with an increased risk of recurrent stroke or TIA or the composite of recurrent stroke/TIA or death. Definition of PACs cut-off as well as patient characteristics differed between groups. Expert Commentary: This review supports an association between higher burden of PACs and recurrent stroke, and stresses the need for studies on PACs in stroke patients. A special awareness of stroke patients with a high PACs load is recommendable particularly for assessing the intensity and duration toward AF progression, and possible future treatment recommendations.
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Premature atrial complexes in an ischemic stroke population and risk of recurrent stroke: a systematic review