Blood-thinning medications may reduce stroke risk for AFib patients

Feb 26
AFib News Blog
Blood-thinning medications may reduce stroke risk for AFib patients

Posted by on February 26,  2019  2:33pm EST

AFib patients face an increased risk of stroke, a potentially devastating event. Now a newer type of blood-thinning medication, non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants, is the preferred alternative to warfarin to reduce the risk of stroke associated with atrial fibrillation.

The news comes from a focused update to the 2014 American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology/Heart Rhythm Society Guideline for the Management of Patients With Atrial Fibrillation.

Anticoagulants have long been recommended to reduce the risk of stroke in patients with  afib (a type of irregular heartbeat) who have an increased risk of thromboembolism (blockage of a blood vessel by a clot traveling in the bloodstream) and/or stroke caused by narrowed or blocked arteries

To reduce stroke risk in appropriate AFib patients, the newer class of anticoagulants known as NOACs is preferred over the traditional medication warfarin, unless there’s moderate to severe mitral stenosis (narrowing of the mitral valve) or an artificial heart valve. NOACs include dabigatran, rivaroxaban, apixaban and edoxaban.

The new guidelines also recommend weight loss for overweight or obese patients. They also indicate that new drugs — reversal agents — can reverse the effect of NOACs.

AFib patients should talk to their healthcare provider about their prescribed medications and whether or not losing weight would benefit their health.

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