Cardiac procedure significantly reduces risk of Alzheimer's disease and stroke, researchers find

May 13, 2010

New findings by researchers from the Heart Institute at Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, reveals treatment of the most common heart rhythm disorder that affects more than two million Americans significantly reduces the risk of stroke, mortality, Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia.

According to two new studies by the Intermountain Medical Center research team presented Thursday (May 13) at the the national Heart Rhythm Society's 31st Annual Scientific Sessions, patients with atrial fibrillation treated with catheter ablation are less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease or other forms of , and have a significantly reduced risk of stroke and death compared to A-fib patients with who are not treated with ablation.

During atrial fibrillation, the heart's two small upper chambers quiver instead of beating effectively. Blood isn't pumped completely out of them, so it may pool and clot. If a piece of a blood clot in the atria leaves the heart and becomes lodged in an artery in the , a stroke results. A-fib is the most common heart disorder found in about 2.2 million Americans. Three to five percent of people over 65 have .

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