New research shows that few stroke patients receive therapy that could potentially prevent them from having future strokes.
According to the study, published March 14 in the Journal of the American Medical Association,
less than 20 percent of stroke patients with a history of atrial fibrillation (an irregular heartbeat than can lead to other health problems) received anticoagulation therapy before having a stroke. This therapy uses drugs that reduce the body’s ability to make blood clots, which have been shown to help reduce the risk of stroke.
Researchers examined a registry of over 94,000 patients with atrial fibrillation from the American Heart Association that had an acute ischemic stroke, which is a stroke that causes a sudden loss of blood circulation to the brain. Only 16 percent of these patients received the anticoagulation therapy before having a stroke.
“These findings highlight the human costs of atrial fibrillation and the importance of appropriate anticoagulation,” said lead study author Ying Xian. He said that if proper guidelines were followed, anywhere from 58,000 to 88,000 strokes could be prevented every year.
Funding was provided by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.
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