Nearly one million people suffer strokes each year in the U.S. and about 130,000 people die as the result of strokes, making it the #4 killer in America. While high blood pressure is recognized as one of the leading causes of stroke, many people don’t realize that atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is another prime cause.

The AFib-Stroke Connection

In people with high blood pressure, strokes occur when increased circulatory pressures damage the arteries that supply blood to the brain. Eventually, these vessels in the brain can become weak and break, resulting in a stroke. But in AFib, the mechanism is completely different: the heart’s rapid beat allows blood to pool up inside the heart, creating opportunities for clots to form. These clots can travel to the brain, blocking the flow of oxygen-rich blood and causing a stroke.

While the number of people with high blood pressure is much greater than those with AFib, the risk of stroke among those with AFib is more than twice as high as those with high blood pressure. In fact, while people with high blood pressure are twice as likely to have a stroke as those with normal pressures, those with AFib are five times as likely to suffer a stroke compared to people who don’t have the condition. According to data from the National Stroke Association, more than 70 percent of AFib patients who experience a stroke will die as a result of that stroke.

People with both high blood pressure and AFib – they often occur together – have an even greater risk for stroke, not just because of the combined effects of each condition’s risks, but also because arteries scarred by pressure damage are more likely to become blocked by a clot.

Treating AFib to Minimize Stroke Risk

While medication may be beneficial in treating AFib in some patients, in many patients these drugs are ineffectual. Fortunately, for these patients, cardiac ablation can be used to treat the abnormal electrical pathways in the heart which are responsible for your AFib.

As the leading electrophysiologist in the Tampa area, Dr. Dilip Mathew is experienced in performing the cardiac ablation procedure, using state-of-the-art technology combined with proven techniques to achieve optimum results. With offices in Sarasota and Venice, Dr. Mathew treats patients from throughout central and western Florida. If you’ve been diagnosed with AFib or another type of cardiac arrhythmia, don’t delay treatment. Call Heart Rhythm Consultants at 941-484-6758 today to schedule an appointment and learn how we can help you.

About Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A.

The experienced electrophysiologists of Heart Rhythm Consultants, P.A. have been serving West Florida including Sarasota, Venice, Tampa, Port Charlotte, and Sun City Center for over 15 years. Our specialty cardiologists, or EP doctors, help patients manage their abnormal heart rhythm conditions, whether they suffer from arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation (AFib), or other irregular heartbeats. Dr. Dilip J. Mathew, Dr. Antonio Moretta, and Dr. Rajesh Malik perform arrhythmia treatments like cardiac ablation, cryoablation, and implanting pacemakers or defibrillators. Dr. Mathew has performed nearly 5,000 complex cardiac ablations. View our office locations in Sarasota and Venice, Florida.