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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Why are people with atrial fibrillation more likely to suffer from strokes?

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    Dr Shakeeb Razak

    Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

    Dr. Shakeeb Razak completed his undergraduate medical training at the University of Western Australia and his postgraduate cardiology training at Royal Perth Hospital. He undertook … View Profile

    Atrial fibrillation is associated with chaotic activity in the upper chambers (atria) of the heart, particularly the left atria. That results in impaired blood flow particularly around the left atrial appendage, which has the highest area for thrombus formation. This can result in thromboembolic stroke if a clot is dislodged from this area. 
     
    People with long term atrial fibrillation can develop tachycardia-induced cardiomyopathy (heart muscle weakening due to longstanding rapid rates of atrial fibrillation). This can sometimes go undiagnosed for a period of time. This can also result in left ventricular and left atrial appendage thrombus (clot) formation. Long standing atrial fibrillation can result in dilatation of the atria which can result in valvular heart disease such as mitral regurgitation. These factors can also subsequently increase the risk of thromboembolic strokes in these patients. 

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