Features June 2012 Issue

Treat Atrial Fibrillation to Reduce Cognitive Dysfunction Risks

Reducing the amount of time spent in AFib is the key.

The connection between atrial fibrillation (AF) and stroke risk is well established, but new research suggests that the arrhythmia may also raise your risk of cognitive and functional decline. An analysis of two major clinical trials suggests that AF may be associated with subclinical cerebrovascular disease that could lead to functional decline over time. The research was published online Feb. 27 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. “What we know for sure is that AF is associated with clot formation in the left atrium and embolic events causing strokes,” says Gosta Pettersson, MD, PhD, and vice chairman of the Cleveland Clinic Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

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