Atrial fibrillation (afib) is an irregular quivering of the heart’s upper chambers. This abnormal heart rhythm increases the risk of stroke because it can cause clots to form in the heart and travel to the brain. To prevent strokes, most people with atrial fibrillation must take a blood thinner (anticoagulant) for life. The standard medication is warfarin (Coumadin), but four drugs in a new class of medication are now available. These prevent strokes as effectively as warfarin and reduce the chance of dangerous bleeding in the brain associated with anticoagulants.
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