Patients with atrial fibrillation are at risk for cerebral embolism; however, the roles of chronic anticoagulation or antiplatelet therapy for stroke prevention in patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation have been controversial. Recently, the results of three large prospective randomized trials that examined the risks and benefits of warfarin or aspirin for stroke prophylaxis in patients with nonvalular atrial fibrillation were reported. All three studies revealed a reduction in the stroke rate for patients treated with warfarin and a small incidence of major bleeding. One of the studies also reported a reduced stroke rate in aspirin‐treated patients. The reduction of thromboembolic events associated with chronic warfarin therapy appears to outweigh the risks of significant bleeding for most patients with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Aspirin may offer an alternative for subgroups of patients who are at low risk for stroke or those who are not good candidates for anticoagulation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology