• Texas Medical Center, 6560 Fannin St. #1680, Houston, TX 77030
  • Heights Office, 427 W 20th St Houston, TX 77008
  • Texas Medical Center, 6560 Fannin St. #1680, Houston, TX 77030
  • Heights Office, 427 W 20th St Houston, TX 77008

Stroke Prevention

During an AFib episode, the blood does not move properly through the chambers of the heart, which can cause a clot to form. Clots that develop in the heart chambers can be pumped out of the heart and end up in the bloodstream. A circulating clot can cause a stroke if it blocks an artery that supplies blood to the brain and prevents it from receiving all the oxygen it needs.

Ischemic stroke, the most common type, accounts for 87% of all strokes in the United States. The majority of clots caused by AFib (90%) form in the left atrial appendage (LAA), an area found in the heart’s upper left chamber, or left atrium.

A stroke causes brain damage that may result in permanent disability. Every 40 seconds, a person living in the United States has a stroke. The condition claims a life every 4 minutes. Nearly 800,000 people residing in the United States have a stroke every year. AFib causes more than 100,000 of all strokes every year.

Did you know that people who have AFib have a five times higher chance of experiencing a stroke compared to those who do not have AFib?

To reduce your risk of having a stroke your cardiac electrophysiologist would first assess your annual risk of stroke and based on the risk he would recommend you to take aspirin or a blood thinner. Some patients are at high risk of bleeding and can not take the blood thinner. These patients would benefit from a procedure called Watchman.

Risk of Having Stroke 

The CHA₂DS₂-VASc score is a tool to figure out the risk of stroke in people with atrial fibrillation (AF). It looks at different things like age, sex, and certain health problems to give a score. Here's what each part of the score means:

C - Heart problems or weak heart (1 point)
H - High blood pressure (1 point)
A₂ - Age 75 years or older (2 points)
D - Diabetes (1 point)
S₂ - Past stroke or mini-stroke (2 points)
V - Blood vessel disease (like a past heart attack or leg artery problem) (1 point)
A - Age 65-74 years (1 point)
Sc - Being female (1 point)

The total score can be between 0 and 9. A higher score means a higher risk of stroke. People with higher scores might need strong blood thinners  like warfarin, dabigatran, apixaban, or rivaroxaban to prevent strokes. People with lower scores may only need aspirin. 

It's important for people with AF to talk to their doctor about their CHA₂DS₂-VASc score. This helps decide the best way to prevent strokes, while also thinking about the risk of bleeding. Regular check-ups and changes to the treatment plan, if needed, are important to keep stroke risk low.

AFIB Risk Calculator

Take a Survey and Assess Your Risk of Having AFIB

AFIB Consultation

Risk Assessment, Screening, Second Opinion, Personalized Treatment Plan