Afib: Stroke Risk for Women
If you are a woman 65 and older with an irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation (Afib or AF), your odds of having a stroke are 14% higher than for a man of same age with the same condition. That's the finding of a study led by Dr. Louise Pilote, director of the division of general internal medicine at McGill University and McGill University Health Center in Montreal, and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Not only that, but Dr. Pilote's research showed that the elevated risk remained even when subjects took the blood thinner warfarin (brand name Coumadin).
HeathDay quoted Dr. Pilote as saying: "Previously, there was a common belief that women were undertreated, and this was the cause for the higher risk of stroke. Our current paper shows that this is not the situation and, compared to men, women have higher risk for stroke regardless of warfarin prescriptions."
In their conclusion of the JAMA article, Dr Pilote and colleagues wrote: "These results suggest that current anticoagulant therapy to prevent stroke might not be sufficient for older women, and new strategies are needed to further reduce stroke risk in women with AF . . . Our results suggest that elderly women with AF may need to be targeted for more effective stroke prevention therapy. Clinicians should be aware of the elevated stroke risk in older women with AF, and new strategies should be applied to effectively prevent stroke equally in men and women."