Understand the Stroke Risks Linked to Silent Atrial Fibrillation

Asymptomatic episodes of this common arrhythmia can significantly raise your odds of having a stroke.

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is usually characterized by episodes that are noticeable to the patient, who feels a flutter or racing in his heart. But not all arrhythmias are obvious, and a recent study suggests that silent AFib episodes are associated with a 2.5-fold increase in the risk for ischemic stroke. Thats because the chaotic rhythm of a heart in AFib allows blood to pool in the atria (the hearts upper chambers), which can lead to the formation of a blood clot that can break free of the heart, travel to the brain, and block blood flow in an artery, causing an ischemic stroke.
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