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Stroke Prevention After an Afib Occurrence


My husband (age 57) has AF and his occurrences are getting more and more common. I have been trying to learn about this disease in order to try to help him and I read where the dangers of stroke are at the highest when an occurrence ends.

He is on a baby aspirin per advice from his cardiologist as opposed to Coumadin. Is there anything he can take to lessen this stroke possibility at the end of the occurrence? (He takes a full aspirin at the beginning of an episode to help augment against a stroke per an afib expert that we read about.) Supplements like fish oil which is supposed to help make the blood slippier, would it help to take this at the end of an occurrence?

With much appreciation,

12 Responses
74076 tn?1189759432
Hi KJ,

The only things studied to address the risk of stroke with AF is aspirin and coumadin.  If your husband has no other significant cardiovascular problems, aspirin is probably enough to decrease his risk.  There is always a balance between risk of thromboembolic risk and risk of bleeding.  At your husbands age it is very likely that taking coumadin would make him at higher risk for other complications than he is for stroke.  I haven't read or seen any data regarding fish oil and stroke prevention with AF.

I hope this helps.  Thanks for posting.
Avatar universal
Has your husband's protime and INR been tested?  This is a simple finger stick blood test which measures coagulation speed.  Normal INR is 1.0, atrial fib sufferers should have an INR of between 2.0 and 3.0.  I would suggest strongly that your cardiologist be made aware of your concerns.  At the same time, I also suggest that you request a protime and INR test.
Avatar universal
PT/INR is only measured when someone is on Coumadin. If AF is becoming more frequent, what you want to discuss with the Cardiologist whether your husband is now a candidate to begin taking Coumadin.

I am a 49 year old with severe AF that was not curable with 2 ablations, cardioversion, 4 rhythm control drugs. Now have AV Node ablation and pacemaker, and am on Coumadin.

The guidelines state that if one is over 55, have hypertension, diabetes, high lipid panels or other cardiovascular risk factors, then initiating Coumadin therapy for episodes that are longer than 24-48 hours or are becoming more frequent is a good candidate for Coumadin.

While it is inconvenient, having a stroke is even more inconvenient.

As your husband is 57, the cardiologist may feel that ASA therapy is adequate to thin out his blood enough to prevent clot formation. Always listen to the advice of your physician of course.

Good luck to you and your husband.
Avatar universal
I am thinking maybe taking aspirin does boost the INR, but I don't know how much, if any, and I have never heard of anyone taking aspirin having routine INR testing. At the same time, if someone wanted to buy the home testing equipment, he or she could, although it's expensive. Afib is a bummer, worrying about it. Babblocker, I am wondering why you take Coumadin if you have an av ablation and a pacer? Thanks, Emmaj
Avatar universal
First, I am not a doctor. The information I will share with your is based soley on my own experience with A-fib and on my personal research.

Your husband should probably be on coumadin all the time if he is having regular episodes of A-fib. Although, you say his episodes are becoming more common but do not say how often he is having them. I would advise against the fish oil as more recent studies have shown it can actually cause arrhythmias.

In closing, I think your husband should get an opinion from a Cardiologist and an Electrophysiologist if he hasn't already done so. I am assuming that your husband has been treated with antiarrhythmics and they are now losing their effect. Although you don't mention if he has been on anything.

Your husband could pursue a catheter ablation to cure his A-fib. The newest procedure is PVI(Pulmonary Vein Isolation). I would find a large hospital, preferably a teaching hospital where the doctors have probably done at least a hundred or more of these procedures.

Remember, this is just my opinion. I have no medical degree. You should only heed the advice of the CCF doc and most importantly your own doctor for your husband's care.

Best wishes!

Avatar universal
Bablocker is taking coumadin because his ablation was just of the AV Node. It seperates the Atrium from the Ventricles. His heart will forever remain in A-fib, which is why he needs to be on coumadin the rest of his life.

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