Study: left atrial enlargement associated with brain infarcts

A study published in the journal Neurology has analyzed the link between enlargement in the left atrium, one of the four chambers of the heart, and vascular brain injuries, which are any injuries that impair blood flow to the brain. West Virginia residents should know that researchers concluded that LA enlargement is independently associated with the presence of brain infarcts, which are areas of dead tissue resulting from lack of blood flow.

Researchers analyzed a total of 5,888 senior citizens living in communities in four different counties who are enrolled in an ongoing observational study called the Cardiovascular Health Study. A 2-D echocardiogram measured each participant's LA enlargement. Some underwent brain MRIs.

Among these patients, researchers sought a link either between LA enlargement and brain infarcts or between the enlargement and a condition called leukoaraiosis, which is characterized by brain damage in the brain's white matter. The link with infarcts was more pronounced with nonlacunar infarcts being the most prevalent type. The link with leukoaraiosis, as well as with other types of infarcts like incident infarcts, was not so significant.

Researchers are now calling for investigations into how the risk for infarcts can be reduced in patients with LA enlargement. They say that anticoagulant agents may help in this regard.

Incurring brain damage can lead to various complications as this study shows. Those who have incurred a brain injury and who believe they were the victims of negligence may be able to file a claim. If they are successful, they might be covered for both past and future medical expenses in addition to any rehabilitative care that they require. A lawyer may help negotiate a settlement with the other side whether it was a truck driver, a construction company or another individual or entity that led to the injury.

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