New options to prevent strokes

Healthwatch

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At least 2.7million Americans are living with atrial fibrillation an irregular heartbeat that can lead to a stroke.

Researchers say there’s a new and better treatment for those patients.     

Strokes are one of the major complications of atrial fibrillation.

Now, there are new treatment recommendations to protect you from having a stroke. 

Three years ago, Donna Marie Robinson was the picture of good health. 

Donna Marie Robinson says, “I was working out three times a week, high intensity.” 

But then she was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, AFib, for short. That meant she had to slow down. 

She continues, “yeah, it’s a little depressing. You don’t have control over it.” 

With AFib, the upper chambers of the heart beat irregularly and don’t effectively move blood into the ventricles. 
Karen Ocorr, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Sanford Burnham Prebys says, “the problem is that the blood sits without moving through the heart, and as it sits, it has a tendency to form clots.” 

If a clot breaks off and lodges into an artery leading to the brain, a stroke happens. For years, the gold-standard medicine to prevent a stroke in AFib patients was the blood thinner, warfarin. 

However now, the American Heart Association recommends a class of medicines called Non-vitamin K Oral Anticoagulants.

It includes the drugs Eliquis, Pradaxa, Xarelto, and Savaysa. With these newer therapies, patients don’t need regular blood tests like they do with warfarin. 

Also, studies show they may be more effective than warfarin and less likely to cause bleeding. 

Donna Marie takes eliquis to lower her risk of stroke. So far, so good. 

She says, “I have a new normal.”

Under the new guidelines, patients with AFib who have moderate to several mitral stenosis or an artificial heart valve should still take warfarin. 

Talk to your doctor to see if you’re a candidate for the newer medicines.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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