Physical Activity and Medication Adherence to Decrease Stroke Risk in Atrial Fibrillation
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Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States with about 800,000 strokes per year and is a significant cause of adult disability. About 15% of all strokes are attributed to atrial fibrillation. Moderate physical activity has been associated with a reduction in risk of stroke, but lack of physical activity continues to be a deterrent in stroke prevention efforts. The purpose of the proposed study was to increase physical activity and oral anticoagulation medication adherence to maintain a systolic blood pressure of <140 and International Normalized Ratio (INR) value of 2-3, thus reducing the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. The study utilized a quasi-experimental design with a single group. The project took place in an outpatient family clinic in Kansas with 25 enrolled participants. Pre and post-testing assessed bi-weekly blood pressures, international normalized ratios, physical activity levels, and medication adherence. Systolic blood pressure significantly decreased pre to post intervention, while activity and medication adherence increased. Similarly, international normalized ratios increased to a therapeutic range between 2-3 with increased anticoagulation adherence, thus minimizing the risk of stroke in patients with AF. The impact on healthcare was to reduce the risk of stroke and decrease morbidity and mortality associated with stroke, especially in patients with atrial fibrillation.
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