Patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and their doctors may have found a more accurate and reliable tool to help them predict stroke risks. The new model was created to help doctors decide if treating AF patients with anticoagulant drugs. This new information appears in the current online issue of the Journal of the American Heart Association and comes from a new study that analyzed the anticoagulation and risk factors in AF. It was led by Kaiser Permanente, Massachusetts General Hospital and the National Cardiovascular Research Network.

“While predicting ischemic stroke and major bleeding are both relevant to the anticoagulation decision, formal decision analyses indicate that for most patients with atrial fibrillation, risk of ischemic stroke is the more important,” said senior author Alan Go, MD, of the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research. “Among study participants, 46 percent were categorized by the ATRIA score as having less than a 1 percent per year risk. Such low risk indicates a small net benefit from anticoagulation therapy.”

In particular, the new tool proved excellent at calculating the risk of stroke in primary prevention patients. This is significant because those patients are the hardest to predict strokes in, which makes it very difficult for doctors to know if anticoagulant medication is the right way to go. As a means of predicting strokes, this new model uses common clinical features and then employs a broader range of age categories as a means of determining the risk score. It is this score that helps doctors decide on the best treatment.

“Researchers have long known that Warfarin, a blood-thinner and anticoagulant, is highly effective in preventing ischemic strokes, but treatment can be difficult to control and often leads to hemorrhage,” said lead author Daniel Singer, MD, of Massachusetts General Hospital. “Balancing the benefits of Warfarin against its most severe risks is critical to making the best therapeutic decisions for individual atrial fibrillation patients. The current risk assessment formulas recommended by leading clinical practice guidelines have only moderate ability to predict which patients will have a stroke.”

Another anticoagulant medication that was once often prescribed is Multaq. Multaq is made by Sanofi-Aventis and has been linked to serious side effects, including a worsening of the heart condition, liver failure and lung toxicity. It is for this reason that the FDA has recommended that doctors only prescribe Multaq if all other medications fail to work.

If you or a loved one has suffered from liver failure or a worsening heart condition after being treated with 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.