Some stroke patients have heart tissue primed for arrhythmia

May 4, 2021

Some stroke patients have heart tissue primed for arrhythmia

A just-publised study illuminates why some people who have an embolic stroke of undetermined source do not also have abnormal heart rhythms, even though their hearts contain scar tissue similar to people diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib).

University of Washington researchers simulated stress tests on 90 MRI-based computer models of actual hearts: 45 from patients who had an embolic stroke of undetermined source and 45 from those who had AFib but had not yet received treatment. They found that some stroke patients harbor heart scar tissue that’s primed for abnormal rhythms—which suggests they may benefit from additional preventive treatment.

UW Medicine cardiologist Nazem Akoum and bioengineer Patrick Boyle explain why these simulations are important for people who have strokes but whose symptoms don't currently support the prescription of strong anticoagulants. 

See our related news release and downloadable media resources.


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