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
1Vlachos K, Letsas KP, Korantzopoulos P, et al. Prediction of atrial fibrillation development and progression: current perspectives. World J Cardiol 2016; 8(3): 267-276.http://dx.doi.org/10.4330/wjc.v8.i3.267
2Brubaker M, Maier S. Atrial Fibrillation Patients at Highest Stroke Risk. UCSD Health 2016. http://dx.doi.org/10.4330/wjc.v8.i3.267
3UCSF Cardiology, Preventing Stroke in Afib: Left Atrial Appendage Closure. 2012 Department of Medicine http://medicine.ucsf.edu
4Kirchhof P, Benussi S, Kotecha D, Ahlsson A, Atar D et al. (2016) 2016 ESC Guidelines for the management of atrial fibrillation developed in collaboration with EACTS. Eur Heart J 37 (38): 2893-2962.
5Rienstra M, Lubitz SA, Mahida S, Magnani JW, Fontes JD et al. (2012) Symptoms and functional status of patients with atrial fibrillation: state of the art and future research opportunities. Circulation 125 (23): 2933-2943.
6Marulanda-Londono E, Chaturvedi S (2017) The Interplay between Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Atrial Fibrillation. Front Neurol 8 668.
7Bassand JP, Accetta G, Al Mahmeed W, Corbalan R, Eikelboom J et al. (2018) Risk factors for death, stroke, and bleeding in 28,628 patients from the GARFIELD-AF registry: Rationale for comprehensive management of atrial fibrillation. PLoS One 13 (1): e0191592.
8Hughes M, Lip GY (2008) Stroke and thromboembolism in atrial fibrillation: a systematic review of stroke risk factors, risk stratification schema and cost effectiveness data. Thromb Haemost 99 (2): 295-304.
9Hannon N, Sheehan O, Kelly L, Marnane M, Merwick A et al. (2010) Stroke associated with atrial fibrillation--incidence and early outcomes in the north Dublin population stroke study. Cerebrovasc Dis 29 (1): 43-49.
10Andrew NE, Thrift AG, Cadilhac DA (2013) The prevalence, impact and economic implications of atrial fibrillation in stroke: what progress has been made? Neuroepidemiology 40 (4): 227-239.
11Burn J, Dennis M, Bamford J, Sandercock P, Wade D et al. (1994) Long-term risk of recurrent stroke after a first-ever stroke. The Oxfordshire Community Stroke Project. Stroke 25 (2): 333-337.
12Menke J, Luthje L, Kastrup A, Larsen J (2010) Thromboembolism in atrial fibrillation. Am J Cardiol 105 (4): 502-510.
13Hillis AE, Tippett DC (2014) Stroke Recovery: Surprising Influences and Residual Consequences. Advances in Medicine 2014 1-10.
14Lo Buono V, Corallo F, Bramanti P, Marino S (2017) Coping strategies and health-related quality of life after stroke. J Health Psychol 22 (1): 16-28.
15Barra S, Baran J, Narayanan K, et al. Association of catheter ablation for atrial fibrillation with mortality and stroke: A systematic review and meta-analysis. 2018 Intl Journal of Cardiol 266: 136-142.
Caution: US law restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician. Important information: Prior to use, refer to the instructions for use supplied with this device for indications, contraindications, side effects, warnings and precautions.
The NAVISTAR® THERMOCOOL®, EZ STEER® THERMOCOOL® NAV, THERMOCOOL® SF NAV, and THERMOCOOL SMARTTOUCH® Catheters are FDA approved for the treatment of drug refractory recurrent symptomatic paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, when used with compatible three-dimensional electroanatomic mapping systems. Catheter ablation for AF may not be an option for you if you have any of the following conditions: certain recent heart surgery; prosthetic valves; active systemic infection; certain cancers; intracardiac thrombus, or an interatrial baffle or patch. Consult your physician to find out if catheter ablation is right for you.
As with any medical treatment, individual results may vary. Only a cardiologist or electrophysiologist can determine whether ablation is an appropriate course of treatment. There are potential risks including bleeding, swelling or bruising at the catheter insertion site, and infection. More serious complications are rare, which can include damage to the heart or blood vessels; blood clots (which may lead to stroke); heart attack, or death. These risks need to be discussed with your doctor and recovery takes time.
THERMOCOOL® Navigation Catheters are indicated for the treatment of recurrent drug/device refractory sustained monomorphic ventricular tachycardia (VT) due to prior myocardial infarction (MI) in adults.