Biomarkers for Prediction of Stroke Risk in Atrial Fibrillation
Every year in the United States more than 775,000 people experience a stroke, with one occurring on average every 40 seconds. Accounting for about one of every 18 deaths in the United States, the condition ranks third among all causes of death. With only a four hour therapeutic window, stroke is also a leading cause of long-term disability. The estimated direct and indirect cost of stroke in 2010 is estimated to be $73.7 billion dollars; as a result, there is a growing market for risk determining methods for stroke, especially in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common cardiac arrhythmia and a large cause of strokes. AF affects more than 5% of the population older than 65 years and is associated with an increased risk of worsening heart failure. Therefore, as the elderly population continues to rise and as stroke is typically the initial manifestation of embolism in AF, diagnostic and preventative steps are critical to reducing disability and mortality.