5460 Yonge street, Suite 212
Willowdale, Ontario M2N 6K7
Phone (416) 222-3011
Fax (416) 221-3097
have recently been diagnosed as having “Atrial Fibrillation”.
means that your heart beats irregularly.
are the risks of having atrial fibrillation?
irregular heartbeat increases the risk of small blood clots forming in
heart. These small clots can travel through blood vessels, to the
They then block blood flow to a part of the brain, and cause
is called a stroke. A stroke can cause permanent damage, such as
loss of the ability to speak, loss of the ability to use an
arm or a leg, or blindness. Sometimes a stroke can kill.
are the benefits of taking warfarin (Coumadin)?
is an anticoagulant. That means that it stops blood clots from
“thinning” the blood. This reduces the risk of stroke by about
use blood tests to make sure that your blood is thin enough to prevent
but not too thin. The blood test is called an “INR”; your INR
be between 2 and 3. At first, you will need to have blood tests
fairly often; once your INR is stable, you will need to have this test
a month. If your test is too high or too low, I will call you to
your warfarin dosage.
are the risks of taking warfarin?
increases the risk of bleeding. The risk of very serious,
bleeding (such as bleeding inside the brain causing damage similar to a
stroke) is 5% over 5 years.
are 80 years old or more, this risk is 17% over 5 years. Warfarin
cause less serious, but still worrisome, bleeding (such as blood in the
stool), and you may need extra tests if this happens. The risk of
20 to 35% over 5 years.
people choose not to take warfarin. Aspirin (ASA) is another
Aspirin reduces the risk of stroke as well, but only by 20%.
interferes with many prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and
Please speak with your pharmacist or me before taking additional
Do not take drugs that increase the risk of bleeding, such as Aspirin,
Ibuprophen (Advil, Motrin) while on warfarin.
foods that contain vitamin K, such as liver, broccoli or cauliflower,
interfere with warfarin. You can continue to eat those foods, but
change the amount you normally eat.
pharmacist will have additional information for you. Information
available at the National Institutes of Health, http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus
Over the next five years,
risk of stroke is:
Warfarin decreases your risk of
(To calculate how much warfarin will reduce your risk, multiply your risk by 0.68)
Your risk of serious bleeding with warfarin