-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Mexican-American stroke
survivors with a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation
are more than twice as likely to suffer a second stroke compared to
white patients, a new study finds.
It also found that even though these strokes are more likely to
be severe among Mexican-Americans, they don't have a greater risk
of death after a second stroke.
In people with atrial fibrillation, the heart's upper chambers
(atria) beat irregularly and don't pump blood effectively. This can
cause blood to pool within the atria, which can lead to the
formation of blood clots that can break off and travel to the
brain, causing a stroke.
This study included 88 Mexican-Americans and 148 white stroke
survivors with atrial fibrillation. Compared to the white patients,
the Mexican-American stroke survivors were younger, less likely to
have completed 12 years of education, more likely to have diabetes,
and less likely to have a primary care physician.
Over a median follow-up of 427.5 days, 19 Mexican-Americans and
14 whites had at least one recurrent stroke. All but one of those
cases involved an ischemic stroke, which is caused by blocked blood
flow to the brain. One Mexican-American patient suffered a
hemorrhagic stroke, which is bleeding in the brain.
The study appears in the current issue of the journal
"Based on some of our prior research, we were not necessarily surprised by the higher recurrence rate in Mexican-Americans with atrial fibrillation, but the greater severity of recurrent strokes in Mexican-Americans was surprising," co-author Dr. Darin B. Zahuranec, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Research Center in Ann Arbor, said in an American Heart Association news release.
One reason for the difference in stroke rates could be that
Mexican-Americans may not have managed the blood-thinning drug
warfarin -- often used to prevent stroke -- in the most optimal
way, Zahuranec said. He and his colleagues did not evaluate
outpatient use of warfarin, which might have contributed to the
increased risk of stroke in Mexican-Americans.
The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about
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