Tags: irregular | heart | beat | stroke

Irregular Heart Beat ups Stroke Risk

Friday, 11 May 2012 11:10 PM

Older women with an irregular heartbeat are more likely to suffer a stroke than men with a similar diagnosis, scientists have found.
The study, by the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, found the stroke risk for women 75 years and older is greater even among those taking warfarin, the blood thinner used to prevent stroke in people with irregular heartbeats.
Researchers said the findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, indicate doctors need to explore additional treatment options for preventing stroke in at-risk older women.
"Our results suggest that elderly women with [irregular heartbeats] may need to be targeted for more effective stroke prevention therapy," said researcher Dr. Louise Pilote. "Knowing the stroke risk is higher in women is something that both physicians and patients should be focusing on."
People with irregular heart beat – also known as atrial fibrillation – are five times more likely to have a stroke than those without the condition.
For the study, researchers compared the rate of stroke and warfarin use among 39,398 men and 44,115 women in Quebec between 1998 and 2007.
"We found that women had a 14 percent higher risk of stroke then men," said lead researcher Dr. Meytal Avgil Tsadok. "Even though the adherence to warfarin was the same in both sexes the follow up and the level of anticoagulation may not be as high in women compared to men. Other reasons could be a combination of uncontrolled hypertension and some other vascular factors."

© HealthDay

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Older women with heart rhythm problems are at greater risk of having a stroke than men.
Friday, 11 May 2012 11:10 PM
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