Semin Neurol
DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1726329
Review Article

Prevalence, Mechanisms, and Management of Ischemic Stroke in Heart Failure Patients

Hyeyoung Seol
1  Department of Neurology, McGovern Medical School at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, Texas
Jong S. Kim
2  Department of Neurology, University of Ulsan, Asan Medical Center, Seoul, Korea
› Author Affiliations


Heart failure (HF) and stroke, two of the major causes of death worldwide, are closely associated. Although atrial fibrillation (AF), which occurs in more than half of patients with HF, is a major risk factor for stroke, there is a great deal of evidence that HF itself increases the risk of stroke independent of AF. The main mechanism of stroke appears to be thromboembolism. However, previous studies have failed to demonstrate the benefit of warfarin in patients with HF without AF, as the benefit of stroke prevention was counteracted by the increased incidence of major bleeding. Recently, researchers have identified patients with HF at a particularly high risk for stroke who may benefit from anticoagulation therapy. Based on stroke-risk prediction models, it may be possible to make better stroke prevention decisions for patients with HF. Moreover, non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants have emerged as anticoagulants with a more favorable risk–benefit profile than warfarin. Future studies on selecting high-risk patients and using more appropriate antithrombotics will lead to improved management of patients with HF.

Publication History

Publication Date:
13 April 2021 (online)

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