Several research projects have been conducted to explore the relationship of stroke, atrial fibrillation, and heart failure. Some researchers evaluated the effectiveness of different medications on decreasing the risk of stroke. Others looked at an array of factors, including sex and age. The severity of illness was evaluated too.
Researchers evaluated individuals who had heart failure and atrial fibrillation. All of the participants had received blood thinning medications which are known as anticoagulants. The researchers evaluated the people for over three years. They discovered that individuals most likely to have a stroke were over seventy five years of age, female, and had a history of a previous stroke or TIA. The research also revealed that the severity of heart failure did not influence the likelihood of having a stroke. (Sandhu, R, et al. 2015)
A soon to be published study (Rolf, S. et al. 2015) indicated that more emphasis may need to be placed on the use of medications and other therapies designed to restore normal heart rhythm. It may be that using medications which simply normalize how fast the heart beats does not sufficiently lower the risk of complications due to atrial fibrillation.
A recent study was conducted in the Middle East. The researchers found that people who were admitted to the hospital for acute heart failure commonly had other health problems. Atrial fibrillation, high blood pressure, diabetes, and atrial flutter were common diagnoses. Like other researchers, they found that the risk of complications was greater among older individuals. However, complications occurred ten years earlier than among people in western countries.
Unlike people who had heart failure and atrial fibrillation in the west, the study participants had lower rates of receiving treatment with cardiac medications and other therapies. Hence, the rates of hospitalization and complications were higher. The researchers suggested that improving management of simultaneously occurring conditions may reduce the likelihood of complications and readmission to the hospital.
The Importance of Research
Research is necessary in order to develop health care protocols which are effective. This translates to fewer hospitalizations, less expense, improved quality of lives, and longer lifespans. It appears that individual, holistic approaches may be needed to optimally treat atrial fibrillation and heart failure. The revelation that the lack of treatment with cardiac medications and other therapies resulted in earlier complications is significant. Research indicates that treatment for heart failure and atrial fibrillation works and improves lives. It appears that heath care is on the right path for managing atrial fibrillation and heart failure, yet reveals that much remains to be learned. Better agents need to be developed in order to treat both conditions more effectively.