(Reuters Health) - Patients with atrial fibrillation, a common heart rhythm disorder, should take newer blood thinners to prevent stroke instead of the old standby drug warfarin, U.S. doctors recommend. Atrial fibrillation patients have up to seven times the stroke risk of people without the disorder. “Stroke due to atrial fibrillation tends to be quite severe,” said Dr. Craig January of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who helped draft the new guidelines published in Circulation. In atrial fibrillation, electrical impulses in the upper chambers of the heart are chaotic, causing the heart muscle to quiver rather than contracting normally. As a result, blood doesn’t flow through the heart as well. This can lead to the formation of clots that can then travel through the arteries to the brain. Even though doctors have long recommended blood thinners to prevent stroke in atrial fibrillation patients, many people who need these drugs don’t take them. … [Read more...] about New blood thinners better than warfarin for atrial fibrillation
Xarelto nonvalvular atrial fibrillation
(CNN)The anti-clotting drug warfarin, commonly known by the brand name Coumadin, is no longer recommended for the treatment of atrial fibrillation except for a select subset of patients, according to guidelines released Monday by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. When to take (or not take) aspirin to prevent heart trouble Instead, doctors and patients are encouraged to use drugs called "novel oral anticoagulants," or NOACs, that have been developed and approved during the past decade by the US Food and Drug Administration. Although many of the latest recommendations for atrial fibrillation or Afib remain the same as the last version, issued in 2014, other key changes in the 2019 update include starting anticoagulants at lower stages of the disease and focusing on lifestyle changes such as weight reduction. Chaotic electrical signals Three million to 6 million Americans have some form of Afib. According to the Centers for Disease Control … [Read more...] about Blood thinner warfarin no longer recommended for most atrial fibrillation cases
(Reuters Health) - Current smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to develop the most common heart rhythm disorder, atrial fibrillation, suggests an analysis of existing research. The more a person smokes, the greater the risk, but quitting smoking appears to lower it significantly, the authors report in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology. “The prevalence of atrial fibrillation has been projected to increase over the next decades and it is an important risk factor for a number of other cardiovascular diseases and premature mortality,” lead author Dagfinn Aune told Reuters Health by email. “Tobacco smoking has been proposed as a risk factor for atrial fibrillation, but previous studies have not been summarized in sufficient detail to answer whether there is a dose-response relationship between increasing number of cigarettes smoked per day,” said Aune, a researcher with the School of Public Health at Imperial College London in the UK. Aune’s … [Read more...] about Smoking linked to increased atrial fibrillation risk
A study published yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) raises important questions about the implications of widespread screening for atrial fibrillation — our most common abnormal heart rhythm (or, “arrhythmia”). Atrial fibrillation (“AF” or “AFib” for short) is an irregular beating of the heart’s two upper chambers, and is considered a risk factor for stroke. The study looked at diagnosing AF — not by the traditional electrocardiogram (ECG) performed during an office visit — but by using a wearable, self-applied ECG patch; specifically, in people over age 55 at high risk for developing the arrhythmia. The study found that at 4 months Afib was diagnosed in 53 out of 1,366 patients wearing the patch (3.9%) compared with 12 out of 1,293 patients (0.9%) in the control group; an absolute difference of 3%. After a full year the rate of AF diagnosis more than doubled in the monitored group (from 2.6 to … [Read more...] about Screening for atrial fibrillation with a wearable patch: Seek and ye shall find … and then what?
(Reuters Health) - Even when the heart rhythm disorder known as atrial fibrillation goes away after treatment, patients’ risk of stroke may still be higher than average, a large UK study suggests. Researchers examined health records collected between 2000 and 2016 for 15,059 people with ongoing atrial fibrillation, 11,159 people with “resolved” atrial fibrillation whose heart rhythm had returned to normal, and a control group of 22,266 people who were never diagnosed with the heart rhythm disorder. People with resolved atrial fibrillation were 24 percent less likely to have a stroke than patients with continued arrhythmia, the study found. But people with resolved atrial fibrillation were still 63 percent more likely to have a stroke than individuals who had never been diagnosed with the condition. “This may be because the atrial fibrillation had not really gone away and just became more intermittent, or it may be because it had gone away but … [Read more...] about Even ‘resolved’ atrial fibrillation carries increased stroke risk