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Determine the risk of stroke using a new cardiac ECG
The so-called brain stroke is one of the most common causes of death in Germany. Researchers have now developed a method with which the risk of stroke could be determined much earlier than before.
One of the most common causes of death
According to health experts, around 270,000 German citizens suffer a stroke every year. This is one of the most common causes of death in Germany. In addition, the so-called stroke is the most common cause of permanent disabilities in adulthood. Researchers at the University Heart Center Freiburg · Bad Krozingen have now developed a method with which the risk of stroke can potentially be determined much more precisely than before.
Determine the risk of stroke much earlier than before
As the University Heart Center Freiburg · Bad Krozingen (UHZ) explains in a communication, the sudden occlusion of a cerebral artery by blood clots, either when the arteries supplying the brain or with atrial fibrillation, is one of the most common causes of stroke.
However, medication can greatly reduce clot formation. Since these anticoagulants have an increased risk of bleeding as a side effect, they are only used in people with a high risk of stroke.
Researchers at the UHZ have now developed a method that could be used to determine the risk of stroke much earlier than before.
The scientists showed that an increased risk of stroke is often accompanied by an electrical conduction delay in the heart, which can be determined using an electrocardiogram (EKG).
Medications to inhibit blood clotting increase the risk of bleeding
"We hope to be able to identify an increased risk of stroke in patients who are per se unremarkable without proven atrial fibrillation," said study leader Prof. Dr. Thomas Arentz, Head of the Rhythmology Department at the Clinic for Cardiology and Angiology II at the UHZ.
"This would enable more people at risk than before to receive preventive therapy," the expert hopes.
Because the clot formation can be greatly reduced by regularly taking drugs that inhibit blood clotting.
However, they also promote the risk of bleeding at the same time, which is why so far only patients who have a high risk of stroke due to atrial fibrillation and other risk factors such as age, diabetes and hypertension (high blood pressure) have been treated in this way.
New ECG analysis can identify affected patients with high accuracy
According to the information, the method is based on the knowledge of numerous previous researches that especially patients with pathologically scarred atria are affected by a blood clot formation and a resulting stroke.
The new ECG analysis measures the electrical lead delay associated with atrial scarring and can thereby identify affected patients with high accuracy.
"In four out of five patients, the pathological scarring on the EKG appeared two years before the stroke," explains study author Dr. Amir Jadidi, senior physician in the rhythmology department of the Clinic for Cardiology and Angiology II at the UHZ.
"In return, patients with an unremarkable ECG were spared a stroke over the next five years," said Jadidi.
The research team evaluated data from more than 150 patients for their study.
"The decisive factor now is to show whether the use of blood-thinning medication can really be better tailored to the individual patient using this new method," says Arentz.
"Currently, preparations are underway for a Europe-wide study under the leadership of the University Heart Center in Bad Krozingen." (Ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.