, Volume 25, Issue 6, pp 561-570
Date: 17 Sep 2011

Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation

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Atrial fibrillation is a significant worldwide public health problem. Over the next 40 years the prevalence of AF is expected to double, and by 2050, approximately 6 million Americans will have AF [1]. Successful management of this common arrhythmia depends on a well-informed understanding of the risk factors for complications of AF, including stroke. In the upcoming months and years, several therapeutic advances in the prevention of stroke in patients with AF are likely to emerge. In this review, we will focus on the rationale behind pharmacotherapy for stroke prophylaxis, estimation of net clinical benefit, and the emergence of new therapies.

Epidemiology of atrial fibrillation

Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most commonly treated cardiac arrhythmia, imposes far-reaching adverse effects throughout all aspects of adult medicine, from primary care to surgery. AF is a disease that disproportionately affects the elderly; 9% of octogenarians develop AF [13]. Furthermore, the incidence of AF ...