NAtrial fibrillation (AF) is a common cardiac arrhythmia associated with a five-fold increased risk of ischaemic stroke in those affected.1 The effect of these strokes in terms of quality of life, and as a disability, has a significant impact on the NHS budget.2 Randomised controlled trials have demonstrated that non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) can effectively prevent stroke in AF when compared with conventional therapy.3 In addition to clinical trials, real-world studies have generated data on the effectiveness and safety of NOACs in everyday clinical practice

References
1. Wolf PA et al (1991) Stroke 22: 983-88
2. National Audit Office (NAO) Department of Health: Progress in improving stroke care. HC 291 Session 2009–2010.
3. Ruff CT et al (2014) Lancet 383: 955–62

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