The results are in from the Asymptomatic AF and Stroke Evaluation in Pacemaker Patients and the AF Reduction Atrial Pacing Trial (ASSERT) study, which has found that patients that have pacemakers and high blood pressure (but do not have a previous occurrence of AF) are more likely to suffer from strokes or systemic embolisms.
This information was recently published in the January 12 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The study also found that the patients who suffered from arrhythmia episodes were two and a half times more likely to suffer from ischemic stroke and systemic embolism. According to Stuart J. Connolly, MD, director of the Division of Cardiology, Population Health Research Institute, Ontario, Canada, the study “shows clearly for the first time that silent atrial fibrillation in patients with pacemakers is in fact associated with quite a large increased risk of stroke. These silent, short episodes of atrial fibrillation that we’re seeing seem to behave like the more typical clinical atrial fibrillation that we’re all familiar with.”
This research was conducted with scientist looking at patients that had a CHADS2 score that was at 2 or higher, along with device-detected atrial tachyarrhythmias which seemed to increase the patient’s chances of suffering from a stroke to 3.78 percent per year.
Even though it seems illogical that a short, 6-minute long AF episode could actually cause a cardioembolic stroke, Dr. Gervasio Lamas, MD, from the Columbia University Division of Cardiology at Mount Sinai in Miami Beach, Florida, believes that these short AF episodes can lead to longer episodes that will eventually cause the strokes. The only way to know for sure is to find that the AF episode occurred before the stroke did. Lamas said there should be a “time-threshold effect, whereby a greater burden of atrial fibrillation or longer episodes of atrial fibrillation should confer a greater risk of stroke.”
More studies will have to be conducted to confirm these findings. While strokes have long been linked to atrial fibrillation (which causes patients to suffer from irregular heartbeats), various drugs have been given in the hopes of preventing the strokes that have long been associated with the condition. For a time, Multaq was one of those drugs. However, studies have proven Multaq to be very dangerous, in that the drug has been proven to cause liver failure and a worsening heart condition. For this reason, doctors are hesitant to prescribe Multaq unless no other drug is working.
If you or a loved has suffered from liver failure or a worsening of your heart condition after taking Multaq, contact the attorneys at Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I am experienced at fighting Multaq lawsuits and may be able to help you recover money for your injuries.