New prospects in stroke prevention for atrial fibrillation patients in Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, June 22nd, 2019 – Bayer (South East Asia) Pte. Ltd. in Ho Chi Minh City (Bayer SEA) today brought together multi-disciplinary experts nationwide to discuss the latest advances in stroke prevention for atrial fibrillation (AF) patients. The symposium was hosted by Vietnam Cardiology Association.
Prof. Dr. Pham Nguyen Vinh, Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City Cardiology Association, Medical Director of Tam Duc Heart Hospital, Chairman of the symposium in Ho Chi Minh City gave the opening speech
The event was attended by more than 400 doctors nationwide who are cardiologists, neurologists, ICU and geriatrics nationwide, together with leading experts to exchange latest knowledge and share best practices on stroke management for Vietnamese patients. It also served as a platform for discussion on current challenges in achieving optimal AF stroke prevention in Vietnam.
Patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), a heart rhythm disorder, are at a five-fold higher risk of stroke than patients without AF. AF-related strokes are more likely to cause patients to remain in hospitals longer and face a higher risk of disability and death than strokes due to other causes. It is estimated that in 2050, Asia will have 72 million AF patients, and 2.9 million among them will suffer from an AF-associated stroke. According to statistics data , AF induced strokes generally results in severe consequences: 50% of AF induced strokes lead to death while the remaining 50% results in permanent disability.
NOACs: better efficacy, safety and convenience for patients
The use of the non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulant (NOACs) for stroke prevention in AF patients has been recommended as a new standard and a preferred treatment in comparison with vitamin K antagonists (warfarin) at the European Society Congress (ESC) in 2016. The latest international guidelines recommend NOACs as first-line therapy for the management of AF-associated stroke, stating that NOACs offer better efficacy, safety and convenience compared with VKAs. NOACs are broadly preferable to VKAs in the vast majority of patients with AF.
“In comparison with warfarin, NOACs has proven advantages such as: fixed doses, lesser medicine and food interaction, no INR monitoring (via blood test) needed; hence offering better convenience for patients to adhere to treatment regimes,” said Prof. Dr. Pham Nguyen Vinh, Deputy President of the Vietnam Cardiology Association, Medical Director of Tam Duc Cardiology Hospital, the Chairman of the symposia.
“The new treatment offers a significantly lower risk of life-threatening bleedings especially intracranial (skull) bleeding in comparison with warfarin therapy; thus giving physicians reassurance to prescribe this NOACs instead of warfarin for patients with AF,” Vinh stressed.
Patients’ long-term and continual treatment for effective stroke management
According to the experts’ updates at the Healthy Heart Healthy Aging dialogue recently hosted by National University of Singapore, current available treatment options can reduce the risk of a first stroke from 50-70% in certain populations.
Prof. Nguyen Huy Thang, Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City Stroke Association shared new perspectives on stroke management and prevention
“However, the challenge is in adoption of treatment as most patients are reluctant to take medication and do not keep to their doctor visits schedule as recommended when they are feeling well. Therefore, it is important to educate the public and the wider community about the important role of NOAC in preventing AF-related stroke,” said Prof. Nguyen Huy Thang, Chairman of Ho Chi Minh City Stroke Association, Head of cerebrovascular pathology Department, Hospital People 115.
“In addition, certain NOACs can achieve safe and effective stroke prevention even in high risk AF patients such as those who have had stroke before, patients with impaired kidney function, etc, It is important patients adhere strictly to their treatment regime, following examinations and recommendations regarding the use of anticoagulants as prescribed by their doctors and timely inform doctors about their disease conditions,” said Thang.
The good news is that Bayer’s NOACs have demonstrated real-world  stroke prevention outcomes and safety in NVAF patients across different risk profiles, with proven low major bleeding rates across Asian patients, high risk patients with co-morbidities  and patients with kidney impairment 
Panel discussion among experts in stroke prevention for non-valvular atrial fibrillation patients
“We believe that Bayer's NOACs will make a significant contribution to improving stroke prevention for AF patients in Vietnam. As a result, we are able to reduce the number of AF-related stroke incidents and the number of patients suffering from severe consequences of stroke such as permanent disability,” said Dr. Lynette Moey, Country Division of Pharmaceuticals in Vietnam, Managing Director of Bayer Vietnam.
“Being able to preserve the physical independence of patients and address the high unmet needs in AF stroke prevention are what motivates us to bring new and better medicine to Vietnamese patients This is a testament to our long-term commitment in developing high quality medicines for patients in Vietnam during our last 25 years of operation in the country.”
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