Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a major risk factor for TIA and Stroke.
It is estimated that AF accounts for >20% of all strokes.
Current guidelines recommend anticoagulation for all patients with AF, even paroxysmal (intermittent) AF:
1. If they have had a prior TIA or stroke, or
2. If they have two or more of the following risk factors: (1) age > 75 years, (2) history of hypertension, (3) diabetes mellitus, and (4) moderately or severely impaired left ventricular systolic function and/or heart failure.
Your risk of stroke is much higher than your bleeding risk, right?
Many AF patients don’t get anticoagulants because they are considered a fall risk. If you had AF and need anticoagulation, you would have to fall more than 300 times a year for the harm from the falls to outweigh the benefits of anticoagulation.
Despite these guidelines, recent studies have shown that:
1. Less than half of AF patients with a high stroke risk receive anticoagulants.
2. Even less patients with paroxysmal (intermittent) AF than those with permanent AF receive anticoagulants (31 vs 49%), even though the stroke risk is the same in both groups.
3. Too few patients with new onset AF are started on anticoagulants (only 52%).
We need to do better.
Click here to download a booklet about AF and stroke.
Click here to download a worksheet that you and your doctor can use to decide if anticoagulation is right for you.