Atrial Fibrillation and Stroke Prevention in Aging Patients: What's Good Can be Even Better
The most common arrhythmia in older adults is atrial fibrillation with an estimated prevalence of approximately 9% in adults aged 80 years or older and a concomitant increased burden of developing stroke. Additionally, over the past decade, both the incidence and prevalence of atrial fibrillation has markedly increased1 and, with it, the total number of patients potentially requiring long-term oral anticoagulation therapy for the prevention of stroke and systemic embolism. In 2009, the estimated number of atrial fibrillation diagnoses in the United States was 2,643,000 with equal distribution between men and women and 82% at ages 65 or older with that number increasing 10% between 1999 to 2005.2 The magnitude of the problem is exemplified by the fact that the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation increases with age and accounts for about 45% of embolic strokes, approximately 100,000 annually in the US.3
- Received May 27, 2014.
- Accepted May 28, 2014.