Washington: Atrial fibrillation patients can reduce their risk of stroke by rhythm control treatments and by the use of antithrombotic therapies, according to experts. These therapies have been improved in the past few years by the introduction of new anticoagulant drugs, such that AF - like high blood pressure or smoking - may now be considered a “modifiable” risk factor for stroke, whose treatment can reduce the degree of risk.Speaking on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC), Professor Freek Verheugt, from the Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis in Amsterdam said: “All individuals with irregular heart beat should see a doctor, who can diagnose whether this heart rhythm disorder is likely to lead to stroke. If so, blood thinning medication can reduce the risk of stroke by up to 70percent.”The latest ESC Clinical Practice Guidelines on Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, which were revised this year, describe stroke as the “second major cardiovascular disease” (after coronary heart disease) and, like CHD, with enormous scope for prevention.
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