Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common serious heart rhythm disorder, with a lifetime incidence of 1 in 4 for patients >40 years of age. AF is a major cause of death and disability, as it is associated with a 4-5 fold increase in the risk of ischemic stroke. In patients with AF, oral anticoagulation (OAC) therapy can reduce the risk of stroke by about two-thirds and the risk of all-cause mortality by approximately one-quarter, but is associated with an increased risk of bleeding[3, 4]. Risk stratification is important to identify patients with AF who can benefit from OAC therapy. There are, however, several common clinical scenarios where guidelines do not yet provide direction for stroke prevention; or do so based on limited high-quality evidence.
Credits: McIntyre WF; Healey JS