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One of the important reasons why atrial fibrillation needs to be diagnosed is because it can lead to devastating strokes. Atrial fibrillation causes strokes because it's an irregular heartbeat, like I said, in the upper chamber of the heart. So the top chamber of the heart is not contracting like it should. It's just fibrillating and therefore blood remains static within that chamber. And every once in a while when the heart does contract, that blood clot can be propelled into the brain and lead to a stroke. So it's really important to have the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation so that a patient can be treated adequately for stroke prevention. Having atrial fibrillation in general predisposes you to strokes. There are some people who have a higher risk of stroke compared to others. I would advise you to see your doctor if you do have a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation so that you can be risk stratified to determine what your risk for stroke is, which helps determine which medications to put you on to prevent stroke. The most important therapy for atrial fibrillation has to do with stroke prevention. Like I said, atrial fibrillation predisposes to pretty devastating strokes because the top chamber of your heart is not contracting normally. So you have static blood, which has a propensity to form blood clots, and these blood clots get propelled into the brain, which is what leads to stroke. So everybody with atrial fibrillation needs to be on some kind of therapy for stroke. The therapy can range from aspirin (if your risk for stroke is very low and you don't have a lot of risk factors for a stroke) or it could be something more potent like blood thinners.

Doctor Profile

Jacqueline Eubany, MD

Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology

  • Board certified cardiologist and electrophysiologist
  • Served in the US Navy for 12 years where she was responsible for the healthcare of active duty military, including war veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Inducted as a fellow in the prestigious American College of Cardiology, and in the Heart Rhythm Society

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