Contempo Updates
June 14, 2000

Anticoagulation for Chronic Atrial Fibrillation

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Internal Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill.


Contempo Updates Section Editors: Thomas C. Jefferson, MD, Contributing Editor; Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Contributing Editor.

JAMA. 2000;283(22):2901-2903. doi:10.1001/jama.283.22.2901

Atrial fibrillation is a common condition and risk factor for stroke. At age 60 years, the prevalence of atrial fibrillation is 1%, increasing to 5% for patients aged 70 to 75 years and exceeding 10% in patients older than 80 years.1 The most common disease origins of atrial fibrillation are hypertensive heart disease and ischemic heart disease.

The rate of ischemic stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation is approximately 4.5% per year but varies widely depending on the patient's age and coexistent diseases.1 The stroke rate in patients without cardiovascular disease increases from 1.6% per year for patients in their 60s to 3% per year for patients older than 80 years.1 Clinical risk factors that affect the stroke rate include the presence of valvular heart disease, prior thromboembolism, hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure (CHF), and coronary artery disease.

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