If you have atrial fibrillation (AFib) or are being evaluated for it, the CHA2DS2-Vasc score is a tool that your cardiologist may use to assess your risk of stroke. This article will help you understand how the score is calculated and how it impacts treatment.
What is the CHA2DS2-Vasc score?
You may have heard of a formula called CHA2DS2-Vasc. It’s used to calculate your risk of stroke, and it stands for “congestive heart failure (CHF), hypertension, age over 75 years old, diabetes mellitus (DM) or high blood sugar levels plus two other major vascular diseases.”
The idea behind this calculator is that if you have two major vascular diseases (coronary or cerebrovascular disease), then you are at high risk for stroke. If you have one major vascular disease, then your risk is moderate. Finally, if no major vascular diseases are present, then your risk is low.
CHA2DS2-Vasc – stroke risk factors
If you have atrial fibrillation, your heart beats irregularly and the pulse may be rapid. This can lead to blood clots forming in your heart that travel through your bloodstream and lodge in an artery or vein in your brain. The clot then blocks the blood flow through that vessel, causing a stroke.
A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood to your brain becomes blocked or ruptures, resulting in the death of some brain cells. If you’re having symptoms like weakness on one side of your body, loss of speech for just seconds or minutes, numbness on both sides of the face, or sudden blurriness with vision (especially if it lasts more than 10 days), call 911 immediately!
CHA2DS2-Vasc score interpretation
The CHA2DS2-Vasc Score is a score to determine the risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib).
The CHADS2, or Congestive heart failure, Hypertension, Age >75 years and Diabetes (without heart disease), was first introduced in 2002 and has been widely used for stratifying the risk of stroke/systemic embolism in AFib. In 2011, the CHA2DS2-Vasc was published as an alternative method for calculating stroke risk in AFib and has gained popularity because it is easier to calculate than using all four variables from the CHADS2 together. The Chances Of Stroke In The Next Year are calculated based on the following: 0 points = low risk; 1 point = moderate risk; 2 points = high risk (stroke).
Anticoagulation is the treatment of choice for patients with AFib. Anticoagulants are usually given to prevent blood clots from forming. The specific type of anticoagulant used depends on patient characteristics and the physician’s preference. Commonly used anticoagulants include warfarin, aspirin, and low molecular weight heparin (LMWH). These medications can be used alone or in combination with other anti-clotting medications known as antiplatelets. Anticoagulation may be discontinued after a few months depending on how well it prevents blood clots from forming, but it is often continued for years after an initial diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AFib) because it reduces stroke risk by almost 60%.
How to use the CHA2DS2-Vasc calculator
Our CHA2DS2 calculator consists of 7 questions the patient needs to answer in order for the calculator to give you the estimated risk of a stroke. Those questions are:
- Does the patient have congestive heart failure?
- Does the patient have hypertension?
- How old is the patient?
- Does the patient have diabetes?
- What is the gender of the patient?
- Did the patient ever have a stroke, tia, or thromboembolism?
- Does the patient have a vascular disease?
As with all our other health-related calculators, it is important to note that you should always consult a medical professional before coming to any conclusions.
What is the CHA2DS2-Vasc score?
It’s used to calculate your risk of stroke.
What does CHA2DS2-Vasc stand for?
It stands for “congestive heart failure (CHF), hypertension, age over 75 years old, diabetes mellitus (DM) or high blood sugar levels plus two other major vascular diseases.”
How to calculate the CHA2DS2-Vasc score?
You can easily calculate your CHA2DS2-Vasc score with our free calculator.