Atrial fibrillation (Afib) is an abnormal heart rhythm characterized by rapid and irregular beating of the upper chambers (atria) of the heart. Afib may cause no symptoms, or there may be heart palpitations, fainting, lightheadedness, and shortness of breath. Because the heart beats irregularly, blood flow may slow or pool and cause the formation of a blood clot, increasing the risk of a stroke.
What makes this side effect from BTK inhibitors such as ibrutinib especially difficult is that one way to avoid blood clots is to put patients on anti-clotting medications. However, ibrutinib interferes with platelet function; if an anti-clotting medication is used in someone with impaired platelet function, there is a risk of major bleeding in the brain or elsewhere. It can be a difficult balancing act.
StopAfib.org is a global heart disease organization dedicated to educating and supporting people with Afib, and is celebrating its 12th anniversary this year. To learn more about living with Afib, managing treatment, and more, visit www.StopAfib.org(link is external) and www.atrialfibrillationblog.com(link is external).
StopAfib.org will hold the 2019 Get in Rhythm, Stay in Rhythm Atrial Fibrillation Patient Conference August 9-11 in Dallas, Texas. Hear from top experts in Afib in a patient-friendly setting and walk away from the weekend with what you need to know to get back to life, doing what you love to do, making and keeping plans. The conference agenda and registration form are now available at getinrhythm.com/(link is external)