Our hearts are incredible machines, but sometimes they can go a bit offbeat.
Thanks to modern technology like heart rate monitors and smartwatches, we can now keep a close eye on our hearts. This is especially good news for older people who are more likely to have heart issues.
Heart Skips and Strokes: What’s the Link?
One common hiccup for hearts is something called atrial high rate episodes (AHRE), which are like small skips in your heart’s normal beat.
They are very similar to a more serious condition called atrial fibrillation (AF), which can increase the risk of a stroke.
To help prevent strokes in AF patients, doctors often prescribe blood thinners. But what about people with AHRE? Should they also be given blood thinners?
Dr. Tobias Toennis, a German doctor who has studied this, shared that we don’t yet have clear answers. According to Dr. Toennis, AHRE occur in 10% to 30% of older people who don’t have AF.
Research shows that AHRE can raise the risk of a stroke, but it’s less clear how high that risk is and whether blood thinners can help reduce it.
To Thin or Not to Thin?
Medical experts often use a patient’s overall health and specific risk factors to decide if blood thinners are a good idea for AHRE patients.
Some studies suggest that AHRE might not be as risky as AF, especially when it comes to stroke. But until we know more, doctors have to make educated guesses based on each patient’s unique situation.
New Research on the Horizon
There’s a big study underway that might give us some answers. It’s called NOAH—AFNET 6, led by the German Atrial Fibrillation Network.
This study is focused on older people—65 and up—who have at least two factors that put them at risk for stroke.
Researchers are testing a blood thinner called Edoxaban to see if it can prevent strokes in AHRE patients as effectively as it does in AF patients.
The results are expected soon, and it’s hoped that they will help clarify what the best treatment options are for AHRE patients.
Prof. Kirchhof, who is leading the trial, is optimistic that the results will give doctors better guidelines for treating AHRE.
He said, “This trial will help us understand how well and safely blood thinners work for people with AHRE. We hope this clears up some of the uncertainty and encourages more research.”
So, the bottom line is that we’re still learning about the best ways to keep our hearts healthy as we age.
New research could soon give us clearer advice on whether blood thinners can help prevent strokes in people with heart skips like AHRE.
We all care about our hearts, and this new study might just provide the insights we need to take even better care of them.
If you care about stroke, please read studies about The flu shot and stroke: a surprising connection and findings of Fast-acting blood pressure treatment helps prevent stroke.
For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about diabetes drug that could help treat most people with heart failure, and results showing this food ingredient may strongly increase heart disease death risk.
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