Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Avoiding more strokes: Longer heart monitoring

It's well-established that atrial fibrillation is a stroke risk. We know that sometimes, people aren't aware they have that condition until after a stroke. We know that condition might take time to detect. And finally, there are some strokes that defy explanation.

So it makes good sense, as researchers found, that a study supports longer heart monitoring for stroke patients:
In both studies, the longer monitoring periods resulted in significantly more patients being prescribed anticoagulants to lower their risk of another stroke.
Photo from U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention
“If more patients with atrial fibrillation can be detected, then more patients can receive appropriate stroke prevention therapy, and the hope is that more strokes, deaths, disability and dementia can be avoided,” said Dr. David Gladstone, an associate professor in the department of medicine at the University of Toronto and the lead author of the Embrace trial.
Some medical centers monitor patients beyond the usual 24 hours, and in May the American Heart Association updated its guidelines to say it was “reasonable” for patients with unexplained strokes to be monitored for 30 days.
The main point is in the quote: "...the hope is that more strokes, deaths, disability and dementia can be avoided."

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