Use of dabigatran to prevent stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation
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Use of dabigatran to prevent stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation

Tracy Mooney Nurse practitioner, Pump House GP Surgery, Essex

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is a major risk factor for ischaemic stroke. Anticoagulant therapy, such as warfarin, is prescribed to prevent stroke in patients with AF. Careful monitoring is required to achieve safe and effective levels of warfarin in the blood. In March 2012, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence recommended a new anticoagulant – dabigatran etexilate – for the prevention of stroke in patients with AF. Treatment with dabigatran requires less monitoring than warfarin and may therefore enhance the care of this patient group. However, it is important to note that some patients may be at increased risk of serious side effects associated with dabigatran. This article discusses the risks and benefits of using dabigatran for stroke prevention in patients with AF.

Nursing Standard. 27, 27,35-41. doi: 10.7748/ns2013.03.27.27.35.e7175

Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Received: 25 August 2012

Accepted: 27 November 2012