A recent study demonstrates that anticoagulant prescription should cease for individuals who have experienced unexplained strokes because the risk is not mitigated.
Anticoagulants were believed to be able to stop further strokes in patients with atrial cardiopathy, a cardiac disorder that mimics atrial fibrillation, a major cause of stroke, but whose initial stroke’s origin is uncertain.
According to Mitchell Elkind, a neurology professor at the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, “we knew these drugs work for people with atrial fibrillation, so we thought that they would probably work for people with atrial cardiopathy as well.”
Nonetheless, the 1,015-person research, which was published in JAMA, discovered that the anticoagulant apixaban, which is currently the standard of care for patients with atrial cardiopathy, had the same stroke rate (4.4%) as aspirin.
As a physician-scientist, it is disheartening to have your idea disproved, but this study nonetheless offers a wealth of insightful data.
“It tells neurologists that patients with this type of heart condition, atrial cardiopathy, should not get anticoagulants, which are riskier than aspirin and should be reserved for people with definitive evidence of atrial fibrillation,” Elkind stated.
Neurologists face a problem in helping their patients prevent further strokes because an unknown aetiology accounts for one-third of strokes.
The researchers discovered that the unexplained strokes are caused by cardiac alterations that are similar to those observed in AFib.
They claimed there were a number of reasons why the experiment might not have supported their theory, including the fact that the correct medicine was tested on the incorrect patients.