AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 4, 2017

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Aspirin Versus Blood Thinners in Atrial Fibrillation Patients with Stroke Risk

Nearly 40 percent of patients treated with aspirin alone despite previous data showing blood thinners more beneficial

Patients who have been diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AF) are seven times more likely to have a stroke based on the chaotic electrical impulses that occur in the upper chambers of the heart. Because of these impulses, the heart cannot pump blood as efficiently to the lower chambers causing an increased chance that blood clots could form. In order to prevent that, patient with AF are treated with blood thinners. However, this study showed that one in three patients were actually being treated with just aspirin alone. “Stroke prevention is critical to the management of AF patients. However, giving aspirin alone to this population may not be the best treatment therapy because it is either minimally effective or not effective at all and still comes with risks, such as intracranial hemorrhage,” said lead author Jonathan C. Hsu, MD, cardiologist at UC San Diego Health and assistant clinical professor of medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “Our study results show a gap in the appropriate treatment of AF patients at risk for stroke. The findings also highlight the critical need for cardiology specialists to adhere to standardized recommendations regarding the use of oral blood thinners instead of aspirin.” To read more, click here.

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