Patients with cardiogenic embolic stroke may experience an early, recurrent cerebral embolism. Fortunately, limited evidence suggests that anticoagulatory agents or thrombolytic agents may prevent recurrent cardiogenic emboli and halt progression of so-called "progressing stroke" However, because of the possibility of the intracerebral hemorrhage, use of such agents has generally been considered cautiously with timing, dosage and patient selection. Serious complications of anticoagulation for presumed embolic stroke are hemorrhage in the area of infarction. We experienced two patients with nonseptic cerebral embolism of cardiac origin. They were managed with anticoagulant or thrombolytic therapy, but resulted in clinical deterioration or death from spontaneous subdural hemorrhage. In each patient, an initial CT scan excluded the presence of hemorrhage but a second CT scan after clinical deterioration, documented subdural hemorrhage.