Expert warns against irregular heartbeat

November 7, 2014 5:04 am 

TEHRAN, Nov. 6 — Atrial fibrillation, a common condition where the heart beats abnormally, may more than double the risk of “silent” strokes, a new review says.

Silent strokes have no signs or symptoms but can affect thinking and memory. In addition, recent research has shown that atrial fibrillation is associated with a 40 percent increased risk for mental impairment, the researchers noted in Medical Xpress.

“Patients with atrial fibrillation are at higher risk of developing silent strokes,” said review author Dr. Shadi Kalantarian, a resident at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut, USA.

Previous studies have found that silent strokes are associated with a more than threefold increase in the risk for symptomatic stroke and a twofold increase in the risk for dementia, she said.

“The higher prevalence of silent strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation may put this population at a higher risk for mental impairment, future stroke and disability,” Kalantarian said.

More than 2.7 million Americans, many of them elderly, experience atrial fibrillation, according to background information in the report.

Atrial fibrillation is an electrical disorder that causes the upper chambers of the heart to contract quickly and irregularly. These abnormal contractions allow blood to pool and coagulate in the heart, forming clots that can cause a stroke if they break off and are carried into the brain.

For their study, the researchers reviewed 11 previously published reports that looked at the association between atrial fibrillation and silent strokes in a total of about 5,000 patients. (PNA/IRNA)

FFC/RSM

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