According to Dailymail,Thousands of people with the most common heart rhythm problem are at risk of strokes because GPs are taking the ‘cheap and easy’ option of prescribing them aspirin, experts warn.The remaining patients are prescribed aspirin or given no treatment at all, which means 360,000 are still at risk of stroke.

More evidence that aspirin is neither safe nor effective for the prevention of stroke in AF patients has come from a new Danish registry study.

'So atrial fibrillation (AF) patients - who make up 2 per cent of the population - should be prescribed an anticoagulant such as warfarin or dabigatran to prevent the blood clotting and so reduce the risk of stroke.

'However, GPs often prescribe aspirin instead, shying away from drugs such as warfarin because they fear the risk of internal bleeding. But this is nonsense. Not only does aspirin carry all the same risks of bleeding, it has none of the benefits because it is not effective as an anticoagulant.

Can acupuncture help AF?

In traditional Chinese medicine, stimulation of the Neiguan spot has been utilized to treat palpitations. We evaluated whether acupuncture might prevent or reduce the rate of arrhythmia recurrences in patients with persistent atrial fibrillation (AF).Università degli Studi di Milano has found that acupuncture treatment prevents arrhythmic recurrences after cardioversion in patients with persistent AF. This minimally invasive procedure was safe and well tolerated.

To evaluated whether acupuncture might exert an antiarrhythmic effect on patients with paroxysmal or persistent atrial fibrillation (AF). Two sets of data are reviewed by university of MIlan.shenmen and Xinshu spots. In patients with persistent AF,

Finally, Italian scientist's conclusion: acupuncture of the Neiguan spot was associated with an antiarrhythmic effect, which was evident in patients with both persistent and paroxysmal AF. These preliminary data, observed in 2 small groups of AF patients, need to be validated in a larger population but strongly suggest that acupuncture may be an effective non-invasive and safe antiarrhythmic tool in the management of these patients.
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Reference: Lombardi F et al.World J Cardiol. 2012 Mar 26;4(3):60-5.

Case study :A 62-year-old patient with chronic bronchitis had treatment-resistant atrial fibrillation. Electrical cardioversion was performed, but sinus rhythm (SR) lasted only for some minutes. Administration of amiodarone was withheld in favour of a course of acupuncture treatment in order to increase the success rate of a second attempt of electrical cardioversion. After two acupuncture treatments, spontaneous conversion to SR occurred. Relapses into atrial fibrillation in the following five winters, associated with attacks of bronchitis, also responded to acupuncture. The mechanisms of action of the acupuncture treatment and the value of this integrated approach to treatment are discussed.