Clinical Edge

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Racial Differences in Stroke in Patients with AF

Heart Rhythm; ePub 2018 Feb 19; Patel, et al

In patients with incident atrial fibrillation (AF), nearly half of the ischemic strokes occurred before the diagnosis of AF, a recent study found. Findings from the Penn Atrial Fibrillation Free study included 56,835 patients who were free of AF at the index visit. Researchers developed an inception cohort of 3,507 patients with incident AF and without any remote history of stroke. Racial differences in strokes that occurred before and after AF diagnosis were assessed. Among the findings:

  • There were 538 patients with ischemic strokes and 54 with hemorrhagic strokes.
  • Compared with whites, blacks had a higher risk of developing an ischemic stroke that persisted whether the stroke occurred in the period either before or after AF diagnosis.
  • Nearly half of the ischemic strokes occurred within a 6-month period before the diagnosis of AF.
  • 53% of the ischemic strokes occurred a median of 3.6 years after AF diagnosis.


Patel PJ, Katz R, Borovskiy Y, et al. Race and stroke in an atrial fibrillation inception cohort: Findings from the Penn Atrial Fibrillation Free study. [Published online ahead of print February 19, 2018]. Heart Rhythm. doi:10.1016/j.hrthm.2017.11.025.

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