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The Link Between CHA2DS2-VASc Score and Thromboembolic Risk in Patients Without Known Atrial Fibrillation: Are We Missing a Silent Culprit?

Stroke is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. The majority of strokes are ischemic and a subset of these are due to atrial fibrillation (AF). Other etiologies include a variety of cardiovascular disorders. The CHA2DS2-VASc score is a validated stroke prediction tool for patients with non-valvular AF. However, it has also been shown to predict increased risk for stroke or thromboembolism in the absence of AF. Given how common subclinical AF (SCAF) is when looked for in patients with elevated CHA2DS2-VaSc scores who are not known to have AF, (especially when implanted monitors are used), the stroke/thromboembolism risk that has been associated with CHA2DS2-VASc scores absent known AF may be an overestimate of the true risk due to the likely presence of SCAF in some of the subjects included. This has not yet been adequately addressed in the literature. Finally, the risk of a left atrial thromboembolic event is a consequence of the altered atrial anatomy and physiology (atrial cardiomyopathy) that may result from comorbid disorders and AF itself, or, additively from both – whether or not the AF has been already recognized clinically.

Credits: Stephanie M. Kochav, M.D., James A. Reiffel, M.D

Biosense Webster
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Introduction to AFib
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