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Medicine protects against strokes
Date:1/8/2014

Heart palpitations. Shortness of breath. Tiredness. More and more people can recognise the symptoms of atrial fibrillation, which is one of the most common types of heart disease. More than 65,000 Danes live with the disease, leading to a greatly increased risk of strokes, which are also known as apoplexy.

New research shows that patients who take anticoagulant medicine against atrial fibrillation not only reduce the risk of a thrombosis in the brain:

"Our study shows that the anticoagulant medicine also appears to protect the patients who still suffer the misfortune of a stroke. The risk of suffering serious brain damage or death due to a thrombosis in the brain is significantly smaller for the patients with atrial fibrillation who received anticoagulant medicine, compared to those who did not receive the medicine," says senior research consultant in clinical epidemiology Sren Paaske Johnsen, Aarhus University.

He has carried out the study in collaboration with colleagues from Aarhus University, Aarhus University Hospital, Gentofte Hospital, and Odense University Hospital.

Largest study in the area

Via the Danish National Patient Registers the researchers have followed a total of 11,356 Danes with atrial fibrillation, who were admitted to hospital during the period 2003-2009 after suffering a stroke. The study is the largest of its kind.

"Only 22 percent of the patients were undergoing relevant treatment with anticoagulant medicine when they were admitted with a stroke. With the knowledge we have now about the protective effect of the medicine it is of course important to be particularly aware of the patients who could benefit from treatment with anticoagulant medicine," says Sren Paaske Johnsen.

Both mortality within 30 days and the degree of brain damage appears to be lower for patients under anticoagulant treatment. Sren Paaske Johnsen emphasises that there are human, healthcare and financial benefits to be gained if b
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Contact: Senior Research Consultant Søren Paaske Johnsen
spj@dce.au.dk
45-30-22-84-69
Aarhus University
Source:Eurekalert

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