Atrial fibrillation is a well-known risk factor for cardioembolic stroke; a number of risk stratification scoring systems have been developed to help differentiate which patients would stand to benefit from anticoagulation. However, these scoring systems cannot be utilized in patients whose atrial fibrillation has not been diagnosed. As implantable cardiac monitors become more prevalent, it becomes possible to identify occult, subclinical atrial fibrillation. With this data, it is also possible to examine the relationship between episodes of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and thromboembolism and the total burden of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and thromboembolic risk. The data gleaned from these devices provides insight and raises questions regarding the underlying mechanism of thromboembolism in atrial fibrillation, and in doing so, exposes shortcomings in the present clinical use of current risk scoring systems, specifically, the inability to account for atrial fibrillation burden and to apply scores at all in subclinical atrial fibrillation.
- Atrial fibrillation
- Stroke risk stratification
- Sub-clinical atrial fibrillation