Impact of Anticoagulants in Reducing Mortality and Disability in Cardioembolic Stroke Patients

Kristaps Jurjāns (Coresponding Author), Marija Cērpa, Alise Baborikina, Oskars Kalējs, Evija Miglāne

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Background and Objectives: Stroke is currently the second most common cause of death and disability-adjusted life years worldwide. Previous studies have determined that cardioembolic stroke is associated with higher mortality. Our aim is to compare the long-term outcome and mortality of atherothrombotic, cardioembolic stroke patients and patients taking direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs), and to demonstrate that adequate treatment with DOACs is associated with better results. Materials and Methods: In our retrospective study, we collected the data of ischemic stroke patients who were treated at P. Stradins Clinical University Hospital, Riga, Latvia, Stroke Unit, in the year 2017. In the present study, we analyzed this information to assess the patients’ demographic and clinical data, vascular risk factors, functional and neurological evaluation results, and the use of anticoagulant therapy. Stroke survivors were followed-up via telephone at 30/90/180/365 days and 4 years after being discharged from the hospital. The Latvian version of the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS-LV) was used to evaluate patients’ neurological outcomes at discharge, and patients’ functional outcomes were evaluated using the modified Rankin scale (mRS). The collected data of the patients were separated into three groups according to the stroke subtype and use of direct oral anticoagulants. Results: A total of 654 ischemic stroke patients were admitted to the hospital in the year 2017. Of all the strokes included in the study, 262 presented an atherothrombotic etiology and 392 presented a cardioembolic etiology. The median age of the patients in the study was 76 years (IQR: 67–83). The median age of patients in the atherothrombotic stroke group was 71 years (IQR = 64–79), in the cardioembolic stroke group it was 79 (IQR = 72–84), and in the DOAC group it was 75 years (IQR = 69–82), respectively. At the period of four years, of all the atherothrombotic stroke survivors 14 (10.5%) had a severe disability, and 64 (48.1%) did not survive. However, 12 (4.1%) of the cardioembolic stroke survivors were severely disabled and 37 (12.5%) had died. In the group of patients taking DOACs 6 (4.5%) had a severe disability and 17 (12.9%) did not survive. In all the patient groups, the leading cause of death was due to severe disability (22%), followed by recurrent cardioembolic events (8%). Conclusions: Previous studies until now have concluded that cardioembolic stroke is associated with higher mortality and an unfavorable functional outcome. In our study, the cardioembolic stroke group and the DOAC group had a statistically significant higher percentage of patients with congestive heart failure and older age, but their long-term mortality was lower and they achieved independence more often than the atherothrombotic stroke patients. The proper use of anticoagulants shows great improvement in long-term survival rate and functional outcome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1323
JournalMedicina (Lithuania)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • anticoagulants
  • antiplatelet agents
  • atherothrombotic stroke
  • cardioembolic stroke
  • stroke functional outcome
  • stroke mortality

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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