In order to bring you the best possible user experience, this site uses Javascript. If you are seeing this message, it is likely that the Javascript option in your browser is disabled. For optimal viewing of this site, please ensure that Javascript is enabled for your browser.
Did you know that your browser is out of date? To get the best experience using our website we recommend that you upgrade to a newer version. Learn more.

Stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation

ESC Congress News 2018 - Munich, Germany

ESC Geoffrey Rose Lecture on Population Sciences

Approximately 20% of all ischemic strokes are directly caused by atrial fibrillation (AF). Importantly, strokes that arise from AF-related clots are particularly large and are a major cause of death and disability.

Stroke Prevention
Atrial Fibrillation

connolly_stuart j-2016.jpg“We have made tremendous advances in understanding the cause of strokes in patients with AF and also in developing treatments that can reduce the risk; nevertheless, it’s still a big problem,” says Doctor Stuart Connolly (McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada), who will today give the ESC Geoffrey Rose Lecture on Population Sciences (Sunday, 09:30 – 10:00; Stockholm – Village 1). “There has been much progress in understanding the role of anticoagulant medication for stroke prevention, but we have recently learned that there may be better ways to prevent stroke in patients with AF,” he continues. “Treatments such as combination therapy with anticoagulants and aspirin, left atrial appendage (LAA) occlusion and new devices that are being tested show great promise.”             

“Recent findings suggest there may be better ways than anticoagulation therapy to prevent stroke in AF.”

The Left Atrial Appendage Occlusion Study (LAAOS) III, of which Dr Connolly is Study Chair, is the largest trial to date to explore the efficacy of LAA occlusion for stroke prevention. This international trial will randomise 4,700 patients with AF, in whom cardiac surgery is planned, to undergo LAA occlusion or no LAA occlusion. The results will inform future clinical practice regarding stroke prevention in AF.1

“Silent, or subclinical, AF has also recently been shown to be a potentially important cause of stroke,” says Dr Connolly. “This is a promising research area, because it may help us to prevent stroke in patients who are not aware that they have AF. We need to understand just how important it is—do we need to treat it, and how can we best detect it?” So much progress in stroke prevention has been made in the last three decades; the question is where do we go from here?

1.  Whitlock R, et al. Ann Cardiothorac Surg 2014;3:45–54.


Click here to read other scientific highlights in the ESC Congress news.

Notes to editor

About the European Society of Cardiology

The European Society of Cardiology brings together healthcare professionals from more than 150 countries, working to advance cardiovascular medicine and help people lead longer, healthier lives.

About ESC Congress 2018

ESC Congress is the world’s largest and most influential cardiovascular event contributing to global awareness of the latest clinical trials and breakthrough discoveries. ESC Congress 2018 takes place 25 to 29 August at the Messe München in Munich, Germany. Explore the scientific programme