Atrial Fibrillation and Avoidable Strokes
Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of abnormal heart rhythm and happens because the electrical impulses driving the heart to push blood around the body become uncoordinated.
Symptoms include palpitations, feeling faint, being breathless or becoming tired and finding yourself less able to exercise. Some people do not have any symptoms and of course, not all palpitations or irregular heartbeats are caused by atrial fibrillation.
As soon as atrial fibrillation has been diagnosed it must be treated correctly as it increases the risk of developing a blood clot inside the chambers of the heart. If a clot forms in the heart it can travel through the bloodstream to the brain and ultimately cause a stroke. Doctors will assess a patient’s risk of having a stroke or another major complication in these circumstances to determine the best way to proceed.
How can atrial fibrillation link to an avoidable stroke?
Anticoagulants can be given to reduce the risk of blood clots forming and causing a stroke. The administration of anticoagulants itself carries additional risks which the doctor will balance against the risk of stroke in each individual case. However, once the decision to prescribe anticoagulants has been made it must be actioned as quickly as possible.
This is often the point where significant failings arise in the medical care provided. We have assisted a number of clients who have suffered entirely avoidable strokes where there has been a failure to diagnose atrial fibrillation, a failure to administer anticoagulation in hospital, or a failure to refer the patient to the anticoagulation clinic for ongoing treatment.
We have seen a number of cases where doctors have failed to ensure that proper arrangements were put in place before the patient was discharged home. A specific example includes a failure to send the referral form, leading to a patient not being brought into the anticoagulation clinic before they suffered an avoidable, devastating stroke.
Contact us today
If you, or a family member, has suffered a stroke after being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, call us today for a free initial consultation about your case free on 0161 785 3500. We will listen to the details of your situation and advise you on the options that are available to you.