Ask the doctor: Alternative to warfarin

Q. For several years, I have been taking warfarin because of atrial fibrillation. I recently suffered several nosebleeds, which took two days to control. The trauma of those episodes makes me want to swear off warfarin, but I am not sure what other options I have.

A. People with atrial fibrillation are at risk of having a stroke because when the atria (the top two chambers of the heart) fibrillate (beat chaotically), blood collects in the heart, giving clots a chance to form. One of those clots can travel to the head, get stuck in a blood vessel there, and cause a stroke.

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