Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley underwent a routine procedure to treat a common heart rhythm abnormality called atrial fibrillation, or A-fib. His office reports that he is “feeling well and there are no serious medical concerns.”
A-fib is the most common heart rhythm disorder and occurs when the upper chambers of the heart beat irregularly, or quiver, instead of beating effectively to move blood into the ventricles. This can cause blood to pool in the chambers of the heart where they can form clots that can break loose, travel to the brain and result in stroke.
Many people diagnosed with A-fib are treated with blood thinners to reduce the risk of stroke by making the blood more difficult to clot. While effective at the prevention of stroke from clots, blood thinners can also increase the risk of major bleeding events including gastrointestinal bleeds and brain bleeds.
For decades, warfarin has been the blood thinner treatment option for most patients with A-fib. But the medication was inconvenient, requiring users to have their blood levels checked on a regular basis. The drug also has many food and drug interactions that affect its effectiveness.
In 2010, a new class of blood thinners emerged, offering a more convenient alternative to A-fib sufferers. These new drugs, which include Xarelto and Eliquis, do not require that patients be monitored regularly and have far fewer interactions with food and medications.
But unlike warfarin, there is no antidote on the market to reverse the bleeding effects of Xarelto and Eliquis in the event of a bleeding emergency.
Thousands of people who have been injured after taking these drugs have filed lawsuits against the manufacturers alleging the companies did not adequately test the drugs to better understand the bleeding risks, nor did they adequately warn consumers of the risks.
Righting Injustice has no knowledge of whether Gov. Bentley uses any type of blood thinner.