Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with a more than two-fold increase in the odds for silent cerebral infarction (SCI), or a stroke that has no outward signs or symptoms, according to a review being published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
AF is the most common arrhythmia in the elderly, affecting more than 2.7 million Americans. Patients with AF have up to five times greater risk for stroke and poorer poststroke outcomes than those without AF. Research indicates that AF is associated with a 40 percent increase in the risk for cognitive impairment, independent of a history of symptomatic stroke and comorbid conditions, suggesting another underlying cause, such as SCI.
Researchers reviewed 11 studies that reported on the association between AF and SCIs to estimate the association between AF and SCIs and the prevalence of SCIs in stroke-free patients with AF. They found strong evidence that AF is associated with more than 2-fold increase in the odds of SCI.
Article: Association Between Atrial Fibrillation and Silent Cerebral Infarctions: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis, S. Kalantarian, H. Ay, R.L. Gollub, H. Lee, K. Retzepi, M. Mansour, and J.N. Ruskin, Annals of Internal Medicine, published 3 November 2014.
Source: American College of Physicians