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Permanent AF doubles risk of stroke compared to paroxysmal AF
Date:9/1/2014

Barcelona, Spain Monday 1 September 2014: Permanent atrial fibrillation (AF) doubles the risk of stroke compared to paroxysmal AF, according to research in more than 6 000 patients presented at ESC Congress today by Dr Thomas Vanassche from Belgium. The findings suggest that a simple clinical assessment of the type of AF can help doctors to better estimate stroke risk.

Ischaemic stroke is the second cause of death in the EU, accounting for over a million deaths and many more disabled patients each year. Annual direct health care costs amount to more than 20 billion. AF is a frequent rhythm disorder and an important risk factor for stroke (1). The presentation of AF can vary from short and often self-limiting episodes of arrhythmia in people with otherwise normal heart rhythm, called paroxysmal AF, to a continuously abnormal rhythm called permanent AF (2).

Dr Vanassche said: "Our study shows that the risk of stroke is higher in patients in whom the arrhythmia is present permanently, compared to patients who only have short episodes of arrhythmia, even when correcting for other stroke risk factors. Although it may seem intuitive that the continuous presence of AF carries a higher stroke risk than short, intermittent episodes, this has been an area of controversy."

He added: "Although some recent trials have reported higher stroke rates in patients with permanent compared with paroxysmal AF, other studies did not report a significant difference. Current guidelines recommend that the pattern of AF should not be taken into account when assessing the stroke risk in patients with AF, suggesting that, when it comes to stroke risk, 'any AF is AF'."

To address this question, the researchers pooled data from two previously conducted clinical trials, ACTIVE-A and AVERROES, for a combined sample size of more than 6 000 patients with AF. Besides the large number of patients, another important strength of the analysis was that no
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Contact: ESC Press Office
press@escardio.org
34-670-521-210
European Society of Cardiology
Source:Eurekalert  

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Permanent AF doubles risk of stroke compared to paroxysmal AF
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