Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 20 : A study finds that by combining two independent, scientifically-proven risk measurements, physicians can better predict a patient's irregular and often very fast heart rate risk of stroke or death.
According to researchers from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, US, these tools can help to determine the need for blood thinners in treatment.
The researchers combined the commonly used CHA2DS2-VASc tool - for Predicting Stroke Risk in Atrial Fibrillation - with an extensively validated tool, the Intermountain Mortality Risk Score, to improve stroke and mortality predictions in atrial fibrillation patients and provide a more individualised approach to a patient's need for blood thinners as part of treatment.
Blood thinners are used to prevent atrial fibrillation patients from a stroke. The results of the study have been presented during the American College of Cardiology's 2017 Scientific Session in Washington D.C.
"The CHA2DS2-VASc score isn't terribly predictive of outcomes, but it's easy to use and so it has served as a guideline to help calculate stroke risk for many years," said lead author Benjamin Horne from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute.
"But there are many variables not accounted for in the CHA2DS2-VASc score, so combining it with the Intermountain Mortality Risk Score provides a more complete predictive tool for physicians," Horne added.
The CHA2DS2-VASc score is an easy-to-use international guideline to determine a patient's need for blood thinner.
The points are added based on age, gender, history of stroke, hypertension, heart failure or diabetes.
The findings indicated that an atrial fibrillation patient, with a score of two or more, is placed on blood thinners.
The Intermountain Mortality Risk Score is based on lab values typically collected from a patient - a complete blood count and basic metabolic profile - which sync automatically to a patient's electronic medical record so physicians have the score readily available.
They found the Intermountain Mortality Risk Score offered a more accurate scale of low and high risk in patients with a CHA2DS2-VASc score of two, which provides physicians with a better guide for determining if a blood thinner is right for their patient.