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4 Updates to Guidelines to Treat Atrial Fibrillation

Posted on February 11, 2016 by Disability Help Group

A group of medical organizations recently released new guidelines for the treatment of atrial fibrillation. This heart rhythm disorder causes irregular and rapid beating of the atria (upper two chambers of the heart). Although it’s not a fatal condition, the risk of stroke is significantly higher in those who have this condition, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

A joint effort between three heart groups created these changes: the American College of Cardiology, the Heart Rhythm Society, and the AHA.

One change to the guidelines is to reduce the use of aspirin. It’s common for doctors to prescribe aspirin for patients with atrial fibrillation. But the experts who wrote the new guidelines state there isn’t enough evidence that it reduces the risk of stroke.

Coumadin (warfarin) was previously the only blood thinner recommended for reducing the risk of blood clots. Updated guidelines added three new drugs: apixaban (Eliquis), dabigatran (Pradaxa) and rivaroxaban (Xarelto).

Another change pertains to treatment recommended for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation.  The group recommends a noninvasive procedure radiofrequency ablation to target the cells that cause the disorder. Using an electrode guided by a catheter, the cells receive the radiofrequency energy.

Updated guidelines also suggest using a detailed risk calculator. This helps determine the likelihood of suffering a stroke. It can help doctors develop the best treatment plan for the individual.

According to the AHA, between 1998 and 2010 hospitalizations for this condition almost doubled. Atrial fibrillation affected over 4.7 million during that period. Because of the complications associated with it, proper treatment is vital.

Those who do suffer a stroke may have to stop working. Social Security disability benefits could help with the financial burden. To learn if a stroke qualifies for these benefits, contact a disability representative. Disability Help Group can answer your questions. We can also help you file an application for benefits or appeal a denied claim. Contact us today at 1-(800)-800-3332.