AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 2, 2017

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Blood Thinners on 'as Needed' Basis is Sage for Lowering Stroke Risk as Compared to Long-term Use

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Penn researchers find anticoagulants, routine pulse monitoring effective in treating atrial fibrillation

Many patients who have been diagnosed with atrial frbrilation (AF) are often prescribed daily, oral medications known as anticoagulants. These medications are also known as blood thinners. Patients with AF often undergo an ablation to fix their irregular heartbeat. A side-effect of this procedure is the pooling of blood which can potentially cause heart failure and/or stroke which can be remedied by the anticoagulants. These medications are normally prescribed long-term leading to patients looking for alternative methods to treat the potentially issues without having to take a daily medication. This study looked into reducing the amount of times the medication is taken but still continuing to reduce the risk of stroke. “This kind of approach to anticoagulation therapy requires an open line of communication between the patient and the care team, and calls for a specific type of patient. We call them ‘highly motivated patients’,” said lead author Monica Pammer, PA-C, a physician assistant in Electrophysiology at the Hospital of of the University of Pennsylvania. “These are patients who were actively seeking, preparing for and are committed to the alternate treatment method, and who are informed about how to diligently and effectively monitor their pulse throughout the day.” To read more, click here

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