As co-founder and co-director of the Stanford Arrhythmia Center, cardiologist Sanjiv M. Narayan, MD, Ph.D., works to develop world-class therapies for heart rhythm disorders like atrial fibrillation (Afib). Formerly a professor at the University of California, San Diego, Dr. Sanjiv Narayan’s most important achievements include the development of a new cardiac ablation treatment called Focal Impulse and Rotor Modulation (FIRM), which allows cardiac surgeons to eliminate disruptive heart tissue with greater precision and efficiency.
One of the main reasons cardiologists are concerned with finding a permanent treatment for Afib is that people with this type of arrhythmia are five times more likely to experience a stroke. Resulting from a blocked or burst blood vessel in the brain, a stroke can have effects ranging from severe, permanent damage to the brain to death. Other important facts to know about Afib and strokes include:
1. Each year, about 700,000 Americans have a stroke. Of these, about 15-20% are due to Afib.
2. Roughly 35% of people with Afib will experience a stroke over their lifetime.
3. Afib risk increases with age, doubling every decade after the age of 55.
4. Women account for 61% of stroke deaths in the US, and they are at higher risk of death from Afib than men.