Stroke and bleeding risk in atrial fibrillation

Keitaro Senoo, Deirdre Lane, Gregory Yh Lip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia in the clinical setting. AF increases both the risk and severity of strokes, and is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Despite the clear net clinical benefit of oral anticoagulants (OACs) in patients with AF at risk for stroke, major bleeding events, especially intracranial bleeds, may be devastating. In the last decade, four new OACs have been approved for stroke prevention in patients with AF and are at least as effective as warfarin with better bleeding profiles. These new agents have changed and simplified our approach to stroke prevention because the threshold for initiation of OACs is lowered. An important clinical practice shift is the initial identification of "low-risk" patients who do not need antithrombotic therapy, with low-risk comprising CHA2DS2-VASc {Congestive heart failure, Hypertension, Age ≥75 years (double), Diabetes mellitus, previous Stroke/transient ischemic attack/thromboembolism (double), Vascular disease, Age 65-74 years, and female gender (score of 0 for males and 1 for female)}. Subsequent to this step, effective stroke prevention consisting of OACs can be offered to patients with one or more stroke risk factors. Apart from stroke risk, another consideration is bleeding risk assessment, with a focus on the use of the validated HAS-BLED {Hypertension, Abnormal renal/liver function, Stroke, Bleeding history, Labile international normalized ratio (INR), Elderly (age >65 years), drugs or alcohol concomitantly} score. A high HAS-BLED score can flag patients potentially at risk for bleeding, and alert clinicians to the need for careful review and follow up, and the need to consider potentially correctable bleeding risk factors that include uncontrolled hypertension, labile INRs, concomitant aspirin use, and alcohol excess.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-290
Number of pages10
JournalKorean Circulation Journal
Volume44
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sep 2014

Keywords

  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Stroke
  • Hemorrhage
  • Risk assessment

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