Women with atrial fibrillation who are not on anticoagulant therapy have a higher rate of ischemic stroke and face a higher absolute risk for stroke than do men with the condition, according to a joint study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, Massachusetts General Hospital, the Division of Research at Kaiser Permanente and Boston University School of Medicine.
Using a sample of 13,559 patients with atrial fibrillation, or rapid irregular contractions of the heart, researchers compared the rates of ischemic stroke between men and women and examined the efficacy and complications associated with a common blood thinner, Warfarin. Their findings are being reported in the September 20 issue of Circulation.
Warfarin is well known to be effective in reducing the risk of stroke in persons with atrial fibrillation; however prior studies have provided conflicting evidence about whether women with atrial fibrillation have a higher risk for stroke than men when not taking blood thinners. "The research from this study clearly shows that gender plays a role in ischemic stroke risk and occurrence," said lead author Margaret Fang, MD, MPH, assistant adjunct professor of medicine, and hospitalist at UCSF Medical Center.
Vanessa deGier | EurekAlert!
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