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

New molecule may hold the key to triggering the regeneration and repair of damaged heart cells

August 21, 2017
New research has discovered a potential means to trigger damaged heart cells to self-heal. The discovery could lead to groundbreaking forms of treatment for heart diseases. For the first time, researchers have identified ...

Researchers investigate the potential of spider silk protein for engineering artificial heart

August 18, 2017
Ever more people are suffering from cardiac insufficiency, despite significant advances in preventing and minimising damage to the heart. The main cause of reduced cardiac functionality lies in the irreversible loss of cardiac ...

Lasers used to detect risk of heart attack and stroke

August 18, 2017
Patients at risk of heart attacks and strokes may be spotted earlier thanks to a diagnosis tool that uses near-infrared light to identify high-risk arterial plaques, according to research carried out at WMG, University of ...

Cholesterol crystals are sure sign a heart attack may loom

August 17, 2017
A new Michigan State University study on 240 emergency room patients shows just how much of a role a person's cholesterol plays, when in a crystallized state, during a heart attack.

How Gata4 helps mend a broken heart

August 15, 2017
During a heart attack, blood stops flowing into the heart; starved for oxygen, part of the heart muscle dies. The heart muscle does not regenerate; instead it replaces dead tissue with scars made of cells called fibroblasts ...

Injectable tissue patch could help repair damaged organs

August 14, 2017
A team of U of T Engineering researchers is mending broken hearts with an expanding tissue bandage a little smaller than a postage stamp.

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.