More than four in five stroke patients with a history of heart rhythm problems didn’t get any blood thinners, or didn’t take enough to help prevent a stroke before they had one, a U.S. study suggests.
Most strokes occur when a clot blocks an artery carrying blood to the brain, known as an ischemic stroke. The study focused on more than 94,000 stroke patients with atrial fibrillation, an irregular rapid heartbeat that can lead to stroke, heart failure and chronic fatigue.
Before their stroke, just 16 percent of these atrial fibrillation patients were taking adequate doses of older anticoagulants, which are also known as blood thinners, such as heparin or warfarin (Coumadin) that lengthen the time it takes for clots to form in the blood or of newer anticoagulants like dabigatran (Pradaxa), rivaroxaban (Xarelto) or apixaban (Eliquis).
“Atrial fibrillation patients not taking anticoagulants or taking inadequate anticoagulants are at high risk for stroke,” said lead study author Dr. Ying Xian, a neurology researcher at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.(Photo from the National Library of Medicine)