Stroke is a serious complication of AFib that is associated with long term
disability and mortality. Atrial fibrillation is responsible for 15% of all strokes. And with age that percentage increases, so for those 70 years of age and older, AFib accounts for 20-25% of strokes.3
As many as 1 in 4 patients are diagnosed with AFib after suffering a stroke.4, 5
It’s important to note that in patients with AFib, the risk of stroke is increased if you’ve had a prior stroke as well as by factors such as being female or older in age. If you have other medical conditions like chronic kidney disease, vascular disease, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea ,your stroke risk is also increased 4; 6, 7; 8
Studies have shown that stroke in patients with AFib is more severe and debilitating than in patients who do not have AFib. 9; 10
Immediately after a stroke, patients with AFib have greater neurologic impairment and functional disability than patients without AFib.9 And up to 3 months after a stroke, patients with AFib were significantly more disabled than patients without AFib.9 In stroke patients, the risk of a second stroke is nearly 9× higher than the risk of stroke in the general population.11 30% of stroke patients will have a second stroke 11
What causes a stroke to occur?
Uncoordinated contractions during AFib can lead to clot formation within the heart that, when pumped out of the heart, can block an artery of the brain, resulting in stroke. 12
What may I experience after a stroke? 12,13
- Paralysis, pain, numbness, reduced ability to care for oneself
- Memory loss; cognitive impairment and difficulty understanding language; depression and other emotional problems; changes in behavior, personality, and independence
- Difficulty speaking or swallowing
How does stroke impact quality of life?
The occurrence of stroke can have a devastating impact on patient quality of life and the ability to perform daily activities.
Stroke can cause significant impairment in physical, psychological, and social function, and can reduce a patient’s ability to carry out routine activities.13 Limitations after a stroke include:14
- Personality changes
- Problems with communication
- Memory loss
- Cognitive impairment
Talk to an electrophysiologist about ways to reduce your risk of stroke. Some options may include blood thinners, left atrial appendage or catheter ablation. AFib patients treated with catheter ablation experience fewer strokes within three years following treatment, compared to those who did not receive ablation.15
After being a pilot for 40 years, Rusty was suddenly grounded when he was diagnosed with AFib. Watch this video to learn how catheter ablation cleared Rusty to return to his passion, flying planes.
Take control today!Talk to a heart arrythmia specialist aboutyour options.Find a Doctor