Combining risk score tools improves stroke prediction for atrial fibrillation patients

March 19, 2017
Combining two independent, scientifically-proven risk measurements allows physicians to better predict an atrial fibrillation patient's risk of stroke or death. The tools also help determine the need for blood thinners in treatment, according to new research. Credit: Intermountain Medical Center

Combining two independent, scientifically-proven risk measurements allows physicians to better predict an atrial fibrillation patient's risk of stroke or death. The tools also help determine the need for blood thinners in treatment, according to new research from researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City.

Blood thinners are used to prevent atrial fibrillation patients from a . But like warfarin are more complicated to manage and come with increased risk of uncontrolled bleeding.

Researchers combined the commonly used CHA2DS2-VASc tool with an extensively validated tool—the Intermountain Mortality Risk Score—to improve stroke and mortality predictions in atrial fibrillation patients and provide a more individualized approach to a patient's need for blood thinners as part of treatment.

Results of the study will be presented during the American College of Cardiology's 2017 Scientific Session in Washington D.C. on Saturday, March 18.

"The CHA2DS2-VASc score isn't terribly predictive of outcomes, but it's easy to use and so it has served as a guideline to help calculate stroke risk for many years," said Benjamin Horne, PhD, lead author of the study and researcher at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute. "But there are many variables not accounted for in the CHA2DS2-VASc score, so combining it with the Intermountain Mortality Risk Score provides a more complete predictive tool for physicians."

The CHA2DS2-VASc score is an easy-to-use international guideline to determine a patient's need for blood thinner. Points are added based on age, gender, history of stroke, hypertension, heart failure or diabetes. An atrial fibrillation patient with a score of 2 or more is placed on blood thinners.

The Intermountain Mortality Risk Score is based on lab values typically collected from a patient—a complete blood count and basic metabolic profile—which sync automatically to a patient's electronic medical record so physicians have the score readily available.

"One of the biggest issues with the CHA2DS2-VASc score is its simplicity," said Dr. Horne. "For example, a woman with who's over age 65 would automatically be placed on blood thinners. She gets one point for being over 65 and another for being a woman. But those two factors alone don't provide a comprehensive picture of her risk for stroke."

In the study, researchers found the Intermountain Mortality Risk Score offered a more accurate scale of low and high risk in patients with a CHA2DS2-VASc of 2, which provides physicians with a better guide for determining if a blood thinner is right for their patient.

Explore further: New study finds antithrombotic therapy has no benefit for low-risk atrial fibrillation patients

Related Stories

New study finds antithrombotic therapy has no benefit for low-risk atrial fibrillation patients

March 17, 2017
Findings from a large, community-based study show that antithrombotic therapy doesn't decrease low-risk atrial fibrillation patients' risk of suffering a stroke within five years. In fact, researchers found that low-risk ...

CHADS2 risk score assigns over one-third of stroke patients to low or intermediate stroke risk

September 1, 2013
The CHADS2 stroke risk scores 0 or 1 assign more than one-third of patients in atrial fibrillation with stroke to low or intermediate risk not mandating oral anticoagulation, according to research presented at ESC Congress ...

Routine blood tests can help measure a patient's future risk for chronic disease, new study finds

March 17, 2017
A new study by researchers at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City finds that combining information from routine blood tests and age of primary care patients can create a score that measures ...

Atrial fibrillation patients are at increased risk of dementia, regardless of anticoagulation use

November 15, 2016
Atrial fibrillation patients who use the drug, warfarin, to prevent harmful blood clots from forming in their hearts to lower risk of stroke are at higher risk of developing dementia than patients who use warfarin for non-atrial ...

GPs undertreat women with AF

September 1, 2013
General practitioners (GPs) undertreat women with atrial fibrillation (AF), according to research presented at ESC Congress 2013 today by Dr Pierre Sabouret from France. The analysis of more than 15,000 patients showed that ...

Half of hospitalized atrial fibrillation patients don't receive critical medications

November 14, 2016
When patients suffer from atrial fibrillation, an irregular heartbeat, they are at considerably higher risk for blood clots and stroke. However, when hospitalized, half of these patients do not receive medications that could ...

Recommended for you

How genes and environment interact to raise risk of congenital heart defects

October 19, 2017
Infants of mothers with diabetes have a three- to five-fold increased risk of congenital heart defects. Such developmental defects are likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. However, the molecular ...

Mouse studies shed light on how protein controls heart failure

October 18, 2017
A new study on two specially bred strains of mice has illuminated how abnormal addition of the chemical phosphate to a specific heart muscle protein may sabotage the way the protein behaves in a cell, and may damage the way ...

Newborns with trisomy 13 or 18 benefit from heart surgery, study finds

October 18, 2017
Heart surgery significantly decreases in-hospital mortality among infants with either of two genetic disorders that cause severe physical and intellectual disabilities, according to a new study by a researcher at the Stanford ...

Saving hearts after heart attacks: Overexpression of a gene enhances repair of dead muscle

October 17, 2017
University of Alabama at Birmingham biomedical engineers report a significant advance in efforts to repair a damaged heart after a heart attack, using grafted heart-muscle cells to create a repair patch. The key was overexpressing ...

High blood pressure linked to common heart valve disorder

October 17, 2017
For the first time, a strong link has been established between high blood pressure and the most common heart valve disorder in high-income countries, by new research from The George Institute for Global Health at the University ...

Blood cancer gene could be key to preventing heart failure

October 16, 2017
A new study, published today in Circulation, shows that the gene Runx1 increases in damaged heart muscle after a heart attack. An international collaboration led by researchers from the University of Glasgow, found that mice ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.