Heart Patients at Risk for Being Prescribed the Wrong Medication
About the Medication Mishap
While aspirin can prevent blood clots that cause a stroke, it does not work as well as blood thinners. A study of 500,000 people with atrial fibrillation showed that 40 percent of them were taking aspirin rather than blood thinners.
“By prescribing aspirin, we may be fooling ourselves that the patient may be protected from stroke when this is not the case – blood thinners have been shown to be clearly more effective than aspirin in preventing stroke for atrial fibrillation patients,” lead study author Dr. Jonathan Hsu, a heart specialist at the University of California, San Diego.
While the prescribing of asprin over blood thinners may be attributed to concerns of side effects, most newer anticoagulants are associated fewer bleeding complications than older treatments like warfarin.
Stroke Victim Statistics
The following information was provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Stroke kills almost 130,000 Americans each year—that’s 1 out of every 20 deaths.
- On average, one American dies from stroke every 4 minutes.
- Every year, more than 795,000 people in the United States have a stroke.
- About 610,000 of these are first or new strokes.
- About 185,00 strokes—nearly one of four—are in people who have had a previous stroke.
- About 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes, when blood flow to the brain is blocked.
- Stroke costs the United States an estimated $34 billion each year. This total includes the cost of health care services, medications to treat stroke, and missed days of work.
- Stroke is a leading cause of serious long-term disability.