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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2010 Oct;11(14):2331-50. doi: 10.1517/14656566.2010.498819.

Stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation patients.

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1
University of Birmingham Centre for Cardiovascular Sciences, City Hospital, Birmingham B187QH, UK.

Abstract

IMPORTANCE OF THE FIELD:

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia encountered in clinical practice and is associated with an increased risk of stroke, mortality and significant morbidity. Given the rapidly increasing incidence and prevalence of AF, and the resulting public health burden of the consequences associated with this arrhythmia, stroke prevention is an extremely important topic.

AREAS COVERED IN THIS REVIEW:

This review covers the epidemiology of AF, the pathophysiology of ischemic stroke in AF and current antithrombotic therapy choices for stroke prevention in this condition. In addition, this article discusses important topics such as the assessment of stroke risk stratification and bleeding risk assessment, which are key issues in deciding upon thromboprophylaxis for AF patients. Finally, the review highlights the advent of new anticoagulant therapies and discusses the future challenges for researchers in this area.

WHAT THE READER WILL GAIN:

This review summarizes all of the major antithrombotic trials conducted in AF patients over the last twenty years and highlights the importance of anticoagulation therapy for the prevention of stroke, after appropriate individual stroke and bleeding risk assessment.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE:

Assessment of individual stroke risk and bleeding risk is key in determining appropriate thromboprophylaxis for AF patients, given the associated thromboembolic and hemorrhagic complications. The availability of newer, safer and more convenient drugs will mean that oral anticoagulation is available for a larger proportion of AF patients who may benefit from it.

PMID:
20718589
DOI:
10.1517/14656566.2010.498819
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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