Managing Non-Valvular Atrial Fibrillation: From Family Support to New Treatment Options

Last Updated on August 3, 2020 by Diane Hoffmaster

This post about treatment options for non-valvular atrial fibrillation was sponsored by Boston Scientific as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central.  All opinions expressed in my post are my own.

Posts feature partner companies & may be sponsored. Post contains affiliate links & I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on links.

For as long as I have known my husband, his stepfather has dealt with atrial fibrillation.  What is atrial fibrillation?  Basically, it is an irregular heart rhythm. A simple definition for a significant health problem.  No matter the cause, irregular heartbeats create a rather life altering scenario for patients.  Understanding the condition, getting support from loved ones, and researching state of the art treatments can make a big difference in long-term outcomes. Knowing how complicated this condition is, and how much it has affected my father-in-law, makes this partnership with Boston Scientific very important to me. 

Support and treatment for irregular heart rhythms and atrial fibrillation

What does an atrial fibrillation diagnosis mean?

Atrial fibrillation (AFib) is the most common type of cardiac arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat.  Current statistics say that right now, it is affecting more than five million Americans. That is a truly staggering number.  The causes for atrial fibrillation vary greatly, however, no matter the cause, the challenges patients face are similar. 

3 generation photo including grandparents

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What does this mean for patients diagnosed with this condition?  For my father-in-law, it has meant long-term medication plans, changes in lifestyle, and more than one trip to the hospital, unfortunately.  Because of their irregular heartbeat, individuals with AFib have a five times greater risk of suffering from a stroke than someone with a regular heartbeat.1 This is a diagnosis that should not be ignored.  

infographic about Afib and blood thinners

What new treatment options do Afib patients want?

Boston Scientific recently conducted a survey of patients suffering from non-valvular atrial fibrillation (not caused by a heart valve problem).  They wanted to find out what, exactly, patients were looking for out of therapy.  Were they happy with their current medication regimen?  What else did they need or want to make their lives easier?

Daily pill box with medications and nutritional supplements.

Atrial fibrillation treatment guidelines usually include the use of blood thinners to reduce the risk of stroke.  However, these do not come without risk.  1 in 5 patients in the survey said they do not adhere to their dosage as prescribed by their physician. And 74% want to reduce their risk of complications (like bleeding) caused by blood thinners.  They also want greater flexibility to do the things they want to do in their daily life without worrying about irregular heartbeats all the time.  

Boston scientific infographic about atrial fibrillation

New Treatment Options for Stroke Risk Reduction

For some people, there may be a solution to address the stroke risk associated with their non-valvular AFib. If your loved one is struggling with blood thinners and needs an alternative stroke risk reduction option, considering looking into the Boston Scientific WATCHMAN™ Left Atrial Appendage Closure Device.  This is a permanent implant that offers such patients an alternative to the lifelong use of warfarin, a common blood thinner.

This device effectively reduces the risk of stroke without the complications from long-term use of blood thinners. WATCHMAN can also eliminate the regular blood tests and dietary restrictions that come with blood thinners.

High resolution man drawing chart heartbeat

Supporting a loved one with Afib

My husband and I live far from the rest of our family.  That makes helping out in person pretty tough.  As my in-laws get older, I am more and more grateful that they have a ton of other family members living close by. 

Changing your lifestyle drastically as you age isn’t easy.  My own parents are doing it after my mom’s recent hospitalization for her own heart problems.  Issues with driving may make getting to the doctor difficult.  And staying on top of new therapies and recommended treatment options make going to the doctor regularly vitally important.   

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Do you have a loved one diagnosed with non-valvular atrial fibrillation who needs an alternative to blood thinners? Ask his or her cardiologist about the Boston Scientific WATCHMAN device. To date, there have been 100,000 implants of the WATCHMAN device worldwide. It is the only FDA-approved implant proven to reduce the risk of stroke in people with non-valvular AFib.

Find out if you or your loved one may be a candidate for the WATCHMAN implant by visiting the WATCHMAN website or talking to your cardiologist today! As with any medical procedure, ask about the risks, which could include internal bleeding, stroke and others.

1 January CT, Wann LS, Alpert JS, et al. 2014 AHA/ACC/HRS guideline for the management of patients with atrial fibrillation: a report of the

American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on practice guidelines and the Heart Rhythm Society. Circulation.

2014 Dec 2;130(23):e199-267. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000041. Epub 2014 Mar 28. No abstract available. Erratum in: Circulation. 2014 Dec

2;130(23):e272-4.

 

 

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