Heart Failure and Stroke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Universität Leipzig
  • Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK.
  • From the University of Birmingham Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, City Hospital, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom (M.R.T., G.Y.H.L.); and Aalborg Thrombosis Research Unit, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aalborg University, Denmark (G.Y.H.L.). g.y.h.lip@bham.ac.uk.


PURPOSE: Ischemic stroke significantly contributes to morbidity and mortality in heart failure (HF). The risk of stroke increases significantly, with coexisting atrial fibrillation (AF). An aggravating factor could be asymptomatic paroxysms of AF (so-called silent AF), and therefore, the risk stratification in these patients remains difficult. This review provides an overview of stroke risk in HF, its risk stratification, and stroke prevention in these patients.

RECENT FINDINGS: Stroke risk stratification in HF patients remains an important issue. Recently, the CHA2DS2-VASc score, originally developed to predict stroke risk in AF patients, had been reported to be a predictive for strokes in HF patients regardless of AF being present. Furthermore, there are several independent risk factors (e.g., hypertension, diabetes mellitus, prior stroke) described. Based on the current evidence, HF should be considered as an independent risk factor for stroke. The CHA2DS2-VASc score might be useful to predict stroke risk in HF patients with or without AF in clinical routine. However, there is only a recommendation for the oral anticoagulation use in patients with concomitant HF and AF, while in patients with HF and no AF, individualized risk stratification is preferred. Current guidelines recommend to prefer non-vitamin Kantagonist anticoagulants over warfarin.


Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent heart failure reports
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Jul 2018


  • Heart failure, Risk stratification, Silent atrial fibrillation, Stroke, Stroke prevention