Stroke Risk in Atrial Fibrillation
Atrial fibrillation (AFib), also known as an irregular heartbeat, is the most common arrhymia in the U.S. affecting 2.7 million Americans. The most devastating consequence of AFib is stroke. Patients with AFib are 5 times more likely to develop a stroke and these strokes cause more death and disability compared to other strokes.
What if you have AFib but cannot take blood thinners?
Anticoagulants (blood thinners) reduce the risk of stroke significantly but up to 40% of patients with AFib are unable to take anticoagulants due to the risk of bleeding and other contraindications. As a result, many patients remain unprotected from the risk of stroke.
Fortunately, there is an alternative to anticoagulation for many patients. A new procedure called the Lariat procedure is a minimally invasive technique that excludes the atrial appendage of the heart which is a major source of thrombus (blood clotting) formation which can result in stroke.
MetroHealth is the only health system in northern Ohio offering this new FDA-approved procedure for AFib patients.
Symptoms of Atrial Fibrillation
You may not be aware that your heart is not beating in a normal pattern. Symptoms may start or stop suddenly. This is because atrial fibrillation may stop or start on its own.
Symptoms may include:
- Pulse that feels rapid, racing, pounding, fluttering, irregular, or too slow
- Palpitations - feelings or sensations that your heart is pounding or racing. They can be felt in your chest, throat or neck.
- Dizziness, light-headedness
- Loss of ability to exercise
- Shortness of breath