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New Risk Assessment Tool to Predict Stroke in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation
Date:6/20/2013

tension, coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, female gender, excess urinary protein excretion and kidney dysfunction) and employs a broader range of age categories to calculate a risk score. This score will help physicians and their patients weigh the benefits and risks of starting blood-thinning treatment.

Researchers found strong increased stroke risk across the entire age range, with individuals older than 85 at nearly double the risk of those aged 75 to 84 years. However, individuals who had experienced a prior stroke were at elevated risk regardless of age. Age, prior stroke and their interaction proved to be the dominant risk factors.

"Researchers have long known that warfarin, a blood-thinner and anticoagulant, is highly effective in preventing ischemic strokes, but treatment can be difficult to control and often leads to hemorrhage," said lead author Daniel Singer, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital. "Balancing the benefits of warfarin against its most severe risks is critical to making the best therapeutic decisions for individual atrial fibrillation patients. The current risk assessment formulas recommended by leading clinical practice guidelines have only moderate ability to predict which patients will have a stroke."

Looking to the future, the researchers say that recent reports highlight the promising performance of biomarkers in predicting stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation above and beyond demographic and clinical characteristics. The ATRIA score appears to provide an improved clinical risk factor model on which to add such biomarkers, with the goal of optimal risk prediction.

Kaiser Permanente can conduct transformational health research in part because it has the largest private patient-centered electronic health system in the world. The organization's electronic health record system, Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect®, securely connects 9.1 million patients to
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SOURCE Kaiser Permanente
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