Link found between atrial fibrillation and dementia risk

8 March 2011

Scientists believe that taking a more proactive approach to treating atrial fibrillation in stroke patients could dramatically reduce their risk of developing dementia later in life.

Dementia has already been closely linked to high blood pressure and a patient's stroke history, but researchers claim that more research needs to be done into whether drug treatments for atrial fibrillation will reduce this risk.

Writing in the journal Neurology, lead researcher Dr Phyo Kyaw Myint, from the University of East Anglia, said: "These results may help us identify potential treatments that could help delay or even prevent the onset of dementia."

"Options could include more rigorous management of cardiovascular risk factors or of atrial fibrillation, particularly in stroke patients."

However, the efficacy of such treatments is not investigated in the paper.

A new technique for treating atrial fibrillation is being pioneered at the Spire Hull & East Riding Hospital.

The treatment, called thoracoscopic atrial fibrillation ablation, uses a wire, threaded through the chest, to burn veins in the heart that are causing the irregular heartbeat.

1 Kyaw Myint, Phyo. "Atrial fibrillation and incidence of dementia: A systematic review and meta-analysis". Tuesday, March 8th 2011.

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