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Sleep Apnea May Boost Odds of Irregular Heartbeat

Posted 6 days ago by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, May 23, 2017 – People with sleep apnea may be more likely to develop the abnormal heart rhythm atrial fibrillation, especially if the oxygen level in their blood drops below normal, Canadian researchers report. Sleep apnea, which obstructs breathing, causes people to wake many times during the night to start breathing again. It's possible, researchers said, that disrupted sleep along with a drop in the level of oxygen in the blood might lead to atrial fibrillation. Atrial fibrillation causes a rapid and irregular heartbeat. This can lead to stroke and heart problems. "Patients who are at risk for obstructive sleep apnea should undergo testing, particularly if they have other cardiac risk factors," said study senior researcher Dr. Richard Leung, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Toronto. "Therapy should be strongly considered for patients who have ... Read more

Related support groups: High Blood Pressure, Obesity, Diabetes, Type 2, Hypertension, Atrial Fibrillation, Smoking, Smoking Cessation, Sleep Apnea, Insulin Resistance, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Pre-Diabetes, Diabetes Mellitus, Obstructive Sleep Apnea/Hypopnea Syndrome, Abnormal Glucose Tolerance, Hypertensive Heart Disease

Better Treatment Might Prevent Hundreds of Thousands of Strokes

Posted 14 days ago by Drugs.com

MONDAY, May 15, 2017 – Hundreds of thousands of strokes might be prevented in the United States each year if more people with a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation took blood-thinning medications, a new study estimates. Atrial fibrillation causes the heart to quiver instead of beating normally. This causes blood to pool and possibly clot, according to the American Heart Association. If one of those clots breaks free, it can go to the brain and cause a stroke. "Though not a life-threatening rhythm abnormality per se, atrial fibrillation can be associated with devastating life-altering consequences, namely disabling stroke," said one expert, Dr. Nicholas Skipitaris. He directs cardiac electrophysiology at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. Unfortunately, too few people are getting the treatment for "a-fib" that they need, the new study found. Taking blood thinners might ... Read more

Related support groups: Warfarin, Coumadin, Atrial Fibrillation, Ischemic Stroke, Xarelto, Pradaxa, Eliquis, Lovenox, Transient Ischemic Attack, Heparin, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Rivaroxaban, Ischemic Stroke - Prophylaxis, Apixaban, Fragmin, Enoxaparin, Clexane, Arixtra, Hep-Pak, Jantoven

Blood Thinners May Prevent Dementia in Atrial Fibrillation Patients

Posted 15 days ago by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, May 12, 2017 – Blood thinners are often prescribed to prevent strokes in people with the abnormal heart rhythm known as atrial fibrillation. But a new study suggests these drugs may also help keep dementia at bay. The researchers said that the key is to start blood thinners, such as warfarin, soon after atrial fibrillation is diagnosed. That's true even for people at low risk of a stroke who wouldn't normally be given blood thinners. "We found that people who are on warfarin – the most common blood thinner used to prevent stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation – experienced very low rates of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease," said lead researcher Dr. T. Jared Bunch. He's director of heart rhythm research at Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Murray, Utah. Atrial fibrillation is a common heart abnormality that affects nearly 3 million American adults. ... Read more

Related support groups: Aspirin, Warfarin, Coumadin, Atrial Fibrillation, Ischemic Stroke, Xarelto, Dementia, Alzheimer's Disease, Eliquis, Excedrin, Transient Ischemic Attack, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Aggrenox, Alka-Seltzer, Fiorinal, Rivaroxaban, Excedrin Migraine, Arthritis Pain, Mild Cognitive Impairment, Ecotrin

Heart Devices 101: Guide to the Tools That Keep You Ticking

Posted 3 Apr 2017 by Drugs.com

SUNDAY, April 2, 2017 – Pacemakers, defibrillators and other medical devices have saved the lives of millions of people worldwide. Someone you know probably has received one of these heart-health enhancers, although not all have become household words. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration evaluates and regulates these and other medical devices in the United States. Below, the agency provides a brief glossary of terms that might come in handy when a doctor recommends a cardiac tool: Heart pacemakers: These small, battery-powered devices are implanted in the body. They deliver an electric shock to restore normal heart rhythm when the heart beats too slowly. Implantable cardioverter defibrillators: These deliver a shock to restore normal heart rhythm when the heart beats too fast. Automated external defibrillators: These portable, automatic devices are found in many public locations. ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Heart Disease, Heart Attack, Arrhythmia, Heart Failure, Congestive Heart Failure, Angina, Tachyarrhythmia, Supraventricular Tachycardia, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Prosthetic Heart Valves, Myocardial Infarction, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Mitral Valve Prolapse, Ventricular Tachycardia, Left Ventricular Dysfunction, Prosthetic Heart Valves - Mechanical Valves, Atrial Flutter, Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), Mitral Insufficiency

Pradaxa Beats Warfarin After Heart Rhythm Procedure: Study

Posted 20 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, March 20, 2017 – Patients undergoing a surgical procedure to treat an irregular heartbeat are less likely to suffer problematic bleeding when given the blood thinner Pradaxa rather than warfarin, a new study finds. The two blood thinners were evaluated in a study of more than 600 patients. All had a minimally invasive procedure called catheter ablation to correct the heart rhythm disorder known as atrial fibrillation. The risk of having a major bleeding event among patients taking warfarin (Coumadin) was about 7 percent, whereas the risk among those taking Pradaxa (dabigatran) was just under 2 percent, said lead researcher Dr. Hugh Calkins. "It's an absolute risk difference of 5 [percentage points], or a 77 percent lower risk," said Calkins, a professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore. "I think this will change practice," he said. ... Read more

Related support groups: Warfarin, Coumadin, Atrial Fibrillation, Pradaxa, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Jantoven, Dabigatran, Reversal of Dabigatran

Are Blood Thinners Overused in Patients With Irregular Heartbeat?

Posted 17 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, March 17, 2017 – Many people living with the heart rhythm disorder known as atrial fibrillation may be taking unneeded blood thinners, a new study suggests. These blood thinners, which include aspirin, Plavix and warfarin, are believed to reduce the risk of stroke that can come with atrial fibrillation. But for many atrial fibrillation patients with a low stroke risk, the medications might actually increase both bleeding and stroke risk, researchers reported. The way most doctors decide whether a patient needs a blood thinner is by using a simple score called CHADS2, which assigns points to patients based on age and other medical risks. A score of 2 is usually needed to recommend a blood thinner, the researchers explained. But, "people are realizing that the CHADS2 scores are putting too many people above the threshold – it's pretty easy to get a 2," explained study author ... Read more

Related support groups: High Blood Pressure, Hypertension, Aspirin, Atrial Fibrillation, Plavix, Ischemic Stroke, Excedrin, Clopidogrel, Transient Ischemic Attack, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Aggrenox, Alka-Seltzer, Fiorinal, Excedrin Migraine, Arthritis Pain, Ecotrin, Ischemic Stroke - Prophylaxis, Fiorinal with Codeine, Arthritis Pain Formula, Bayer Aspirin

Many With Irregular Heartbeat Not on Meds They Need: Study

Posted 14 Mar 2017 by Drugs.com

TUESDAY, March 14, 2017 – Many people with an irregular heartbeat who suffer a stroke may not have been on medications that might have prevented their stroke, a new study suggests. Duke University researchers found that 84 percent of stroke patients with the heart condition known as atrial fibrillation (AF) had not been getting adequate clot-preventing therapy. Dr. David Wilber, a cardiologist at Loyola University Medical Center in Illinois, called the findings "sobering." "This emphasizes the fact that probably the most important cause of stroke in AF patients is under-anticoagulation or no anticoagulation," said Wilber, who is also editor-in-chief of the journal JACC: Clinical Electrophysiology. Study lead researcher Dr. Ying Xian agreed. "We estimate that the vast majority of these strokes could have been prevented if patients had the appropriate anticoagulation," said Xian, an ... Read more

Related support groups: Warfarin, Coumadin, Atrial Fibrillation, Ischemic Stroke, Xarelto, Pradaxa, Eliquis, Transient Ischemic Attack, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Ischemic Stroke - Prophylaxis, Thromboembolic Stroke Prophylaxis, Jantoven

Hospitalizations for Common Heart Rhythm Problem on the Rise

Posted 6 Feb 2017 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Feb. 6, 2017 – U.S. patients with a common heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation (AFib) are ending up in the hospital more often than before, a new study says. The good news is that they're surviving more, too. "The more intensive and costly inpatient care that we're providing for AFib recently is associated with decreasing rates of readmission and both short- and longer-term death rates," study first author Dr. James Freeman said in a Yale University news release. He is an assistant professor of medicine (cardiology) at the school. Freeman noted that use of several newer treatments increased during the study period, including catheter ablation and medications. The use of ablation, which involves burning or freezing specific areas of the heart, rose along with improvements in hospitalizations and death rates. Atrial fibrillation – marked by electrical irregularities ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Heart Disease, Arrhythmia, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Cardiovascular Conditions and Disorders, Cardiothoracic Surgery

'Ablation' Procedure Helps 3 out of 4 Patients With Irregular Heartbeat

Posted 25 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 25, 2017 – Just how successful is the procedure called catheter ablation at fixing irregular heartbeats that can be potentially fatal? Pretty successful, a new study found, but there are caveats. Burning or freezing specific areas of the heart can alleviate the common irregular heart beat called atrial fibrillation in 74 percent of patients. However, the procedure doesn't work for everyone and there are risks of complications, researchers report. Atrial fibrillation increases the risk of early death by two times in women and 1.5 times in men. It causes 20 to 30 percent of all strokes and can decrease quality of life due to palpitations, shortness of breath, tiredness, weakness and psychological distress, the study authors explained. About 2.7 million Americans suffer from atrial fibrillation, according to the American Heart Association. For those whose atrial ... Read more

Related support groups: Blood Disorders, Warfarin, Coumadin, Atrial Fibrillation, Arrhythmia, Pradaxa, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Cardiac Arrhythmia, Jantoven, Dabigatran, Coagulation Defects and Disorders, Atrial Tachycardia, Acova, Dicumarol, Argatroban, Refludan, Desirudin, Angiomax, Lepirudin, Iprivask

One-Third With Atrial Fibrillation Don't Take Blood Thinners

Posted 6 Jan 2017 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Jan. 6, 2017 – Many people with the heart condition known as atrial fibrillation stop taking the blood-thinning medication that's prescribed to help prevent a stroke, a new study reveals. Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heartbeat that causes the heart to quiver. This raises the risk of blood clots and stroke, according to the American Heart Association. People who've had a medical procedure such as cardioversion (electrical shocks to the heart through electrodes placed on the chest) or ablation (using heat, cold or radio energy to scar heart tissue via catheter or surgery) to help manage their condition were even more likely to ditch their prescribed drugs. "We don't know if changing the heart to a normal rhythm, by either cardioversion or ablation, always removes the risk of stroke," said study author Dr. Geoffrey Barnes, a cardiologist at the University of Michigan ... Read more

Related support groups: Warfarin, Coumadin, Atrial Fibrillation, Lovenox, Heparin, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Enoxaparin, Fragmin, Clexane, Hep-Pak, Jantoven, Innohep, Dalteparin, Normiflo, Tinzaparin, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Heparin Flush, Heparin Sodium, Clexane Forte, Ardeparin

Head Off 'Holiday Heart Syndrome'

Posted 23 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

FRIDAY, Dec. 23, 2016 – Overindulging over the holidays can take a toll on the heart, according to experts at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Heavy drinking and eating too much, especially salty foods, can trigger atrial fibrillation. A-fib is an irregular heartbeat that causes the upper chambers of the heart to contract rapidly, increasing the risk for stroke. People with the condition may feel short of breath, have heart palpitations and feel like their heart is beating much faster than usual. During December when holiday revelry peaks, emergency rooms see a surge of patients with what's unofficially dubbed "holiday heart syndrome" from too much food and drink, according to UT Southwestern cardiologist Dr. Sharon Reimold. "It's common for people to go to multiple parties during this time of year. You go to one party and have a drink or two, go to the next party and have a ... Read more

Related support groups: Obesity, Atrial Fibrillation, Weight Loss, Alcohol Dependence, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Alcoholism, Hangover, Acute Alcohol Intoxication

Regular Drinkers, Irregular Heartbeat?

Posted 5 Dec 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Dec. 5, 2016 – Regularly drinking even small amounts of alcohol may boost the risk of an irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation, a new research review finds. "The results are significant, since chances are, there are people who are consuming one to two glasses of alcohol per day that may not realize they are putting themselves at risk for irregular heartbeat," said study lead author Dr. Peter Kistler. He is head of clinical electrophysiology research at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia. Other research has linked light-to-moderate alcohol use (up to two standard drinks a day for men and one for women) to better heart health for some people. The new research suggests that this may not apply to atrial fibrillation, which boosts the risk of heart-related problems and stroke. The authors of the new study reviewed prior research that ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Alcohol Dependence, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Alcoholism, Hangover, Acute Alcohol Intoxication

Drug Combo for Irregular Heartbeat Might Raise Bleeding Risk

Posted 21 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

MONDAY, Nov. 21, 2016 – Because the irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation can trigger stroke-inducing clots, many patients are prescribed a blood thinner. But a new Canadian study suggests that combining one blood thinner, Pradaxa, with certain statin medications could raise the odds for bleeding in these patients. "An increase in the risk of bleeding requiring hospital admission or emergency department visits was seen with lovastatin [Mevacor] and simvastatin [Zocor] compared with the other statins," said study author Tony Antoniou, a pharmacist at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. His team tracked outcomes for nearly 46,000 patients ages 65 and older. All had atrial fibrillation and took Pradaxa (dabigatran) to reduce their risk of stroke. Those who also took either lovastatin or simvastatin had a 40 percent higher risk of bleeding than those who took other statins, the ... Read more

Related support groups: Bleeding Disorder, Atrial Fibrillation, Lipitor, Simvastatin, Crestor, Atorvastatin, Pravastatin, Pradaxa, Zocor, Lovastatin, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Rosuvastatin, Vytorin, Pravachol, Livalo, Red Yeast Rice, Caduet, Simcor, Lescol, Dabigatran

Lifestyle, Stress May Play Role in Heart Rhythm Disorder

Posted 20 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

SATURDAY, Nov. 19, 2016 – Stress and poor heart-health habits significantly increase the risk of a common heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation, two preliminary studies suggest. The irregular or quivering heartbeat associated with atrial fibrillation can lead to blood clots, stroke, heart failure and other heart-related complications, the American Heart Association says. One new study included more than 6,500 adults without heart disease. They were rated on seven factors related to heart health: smoking, body mass index, physical activity, diet, total cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar. The heart association calls these Life's Simple 7. Compared to those with the worst scores, adults who scored highest were 41 percent less likely to develop atrial fibrillation. Those with average scores were 8 percent less likely to develop the abnormal heartbeat. Although the ... Read more

Related support groups: Anxiety, Anxiety and Stress, Atrial Fibrillation, Arrhythmia, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation

Many With Common Irregular Heartbeat Unaware of Stroke Risk

Posted 16 Nov 2016 by Drugs.com

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 16, 2016 – Nearly one-third of Americans newly diagnosed with the common heart rhythm disorder atrial fibrillation (AF) don't realize the condition puts them at increased risk for stroke, a new study finds. The irregular heartbeat in AF patients can cause blood to pool, which can cause blood clots that can lead to stroke, researchers explained. The study revealed misconceptions some patients had about atrial fibrillation. "This helps us see gaps in knowledge and understanding," said lead author Emily O'Brien, from the Clinical Research Institute at Duke University in Durham, N.C. O'Brien and her team surveyed 1,000 people diagnosed with atrial fibrillation in the past six months. Their median age was 69. About 63 percent strongly agreed that stroke is a major risk factor of atrial fibrillation. However, around 32 percent believed that heart attack is a major risk factor ... Read more

Related support groups: Atrial Fibrillation, Ischemic Stroke, Transient Ischemic Attack, Prevention of Thromboembolism in Atrial Fibrillation, Ischemic Stroke - Prophylaxis

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