July 28, 2017
2 min read

Stroke rates higher in asymptomatic vs. symptomatic AF

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Previous stroke rates were higher among patients with newly diagnosed atrial fibrillation compared with those who experienced prior symptoms, according to results from the GLORIA-AF registry, presented at EHRA Europace-Cardiostim 2017.

According to the presentation from Steffen P. Christow, MD, cardiologist at Hospital Ingolstadt GmbH in Germany, AF has a significant effect on morbidity and mortality in patients because of a fivefold risk for stroke.

“Patients with nonvalvular [AF] have a fivefold increased risk of stroke compared to those without [AF]. Strokes in patients with nonvalvular [AF] tend to be particularly severe and disabling, with about half of patients dying within 1 year,” Christow said in a press release from the European Society of Cardiology. “When patients are unaware of their [AF], they remain untreated and unprotected from stroke.”

The multinational, prospective GLORIA-AF registry enrolled 6,011 patients aged 18 years or older who were newly diagnosed with nonvalvular AF and had a high risk for stroke.

According to Christow and colleagues, the aims of the study were to investigate patient characteristics that influenced choice of antithrombotic treatment of newly diagnosed patients with nonvalvular AF at risk for stroke, describe antithrombotic treatment patterns and collect safety and efficacy data on antithrombotic treatments.

At the time of diagnosis, approximately two-thirds of the patients included in the study were asymptomatic and one-third of patients were symptomatic.

The results of the study showed that asymptomatic patients were twice as likely to have permanent AF (OR = 0.49; 95% CI, 0.4-0.59), more than twice as likely to have had a previous stroke (OR = 0.37; 95% CI, 0.3-0.46) and twice as likely to have had a previous stroke or transient ischemic attack (OR = 0.47; 95% CI, 0.4-0.56) vs. patients who were symptomatic.

Symptomatic patients were more likely to have had CAD (OR = 1.28; 95% CI, 1.1-1.48) or congestive HF (OR = 2.79; 95% CI, 2.45-3.18) than asymptomatic patients, Christow and colleagues found.

“The finding of a higher rate of previous stroke in the asymptomatic patients despite no differences in the number of stroke risk factors may be explained by a longer but undiagnosed history of [AF],” Christow said in the release. “These results underline the urgent need for public programs to detect [AF] in the general population.” by Dave Quaile


Christow SP, et al. Abstract 1669. Presented at: EHRA Europace – Cardiostim 2017; June 18-21, 2017; Vienna.

Disclosure: Christow reports no relevant financial disclosures.