This is how the new tool works to reduce the risk of suffering a stroke
A group of researchers at the University of East Anglia (United Kingdom) have developed a new way to identify patients at risk of suffering irregular heartbeats, known as "atrial fibrillation". This condition is not fatal, but increases up to five times the risk of suffering a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke.
The study, published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiologyreveals four specific factors that can predict which patients will develop atrial fibrillation and, therefore, are more likely to suffer a stroke, and are: advanced age, high diastolic blood pressure, problems with coordination and functioning of the upper left chamber of the heart.
Based on these symptoms, the team has created a tool for doctors to identify high-risk patients and they hope this will help diagnose and treat more patients so that their risk of future strokes is reduced.
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Principal Investigator Professor Vassilios Vassiliou, from UEA Norwich Medical School and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, notes the importance of determining who is most likely to suffer from atrial fibrillation, as require specific treatment with anticoagulants.
Anticoagulants, commonly known as blood thinners, are used to reduce the risk of future strokes. “Patients who have suffered a stroke often undergo multiple investigations to determine the cause of the stroke, as this can influence their long-term treatment,” he notes.
The research team collected data from 323 patients from across the east of England, who had suffered an unexplained stroke, known as embolic stroke of undetermined origin. Thanks to their medical histories and the data of the prolonged monitoring of the heart rhythm and their echocardiograms were studied.
“We determined how many of these patients had atrial fibrillation up to three years after their stroke, and went on to do a comprehensive assessment to see if there are any specific parameters associated with identifying atrial fibrillation,” explains Vassiliou.
“We identified four parameters related to the development of atrial fibrillation, which were systematically present in patients with this arrhythmia”, he indicates. With this, they developed the model that can be used to predict who will develop atrial fibrillation in the next three years.
Information prepared by Europa Press
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