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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How can taking aspirin help someone with atrial fibrillation?

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  • Dr Michael Davis

    Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

    Electrophysiologist and pioneer in catheter ablation and in the management of atrial fibrillation. Expertise in arrhythmia device therapy, coronary care, echocardiography. View Profile

    Aspirin is an antiplatelet agent that helps development of blood clot. in atrial fibrillation clots can form in the left atrial appendage because of the stagnation of blood when the atrium is not contracting regularly and this can result in stroke. Unfortunately aspirin performs poorly in preventing this, though perhaps better than nothing at all.

    Warfarin is a much better and well-established agent though requires blood test monitoring and dose adjustment. Newer medications such as dabigatran, rivaroxaban and apixaban had been shown to be superior to warfarin and do not require monitoring but are irreversible (there is no antidote) and are much more expensive. The majority of people with any type of atrial fibrillation deserve anticoagulation with one of these drugs – this is well discussed at http://www.atrialfibrillation-au.org/files/file/info_sheets/AFA%20Australia%20Blood%20Thinning%20FACT%20sheet.pdf

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