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Atrial fibrillation is a major risk factor of stroke. The top heart chambers (atria) fibrillate and stagnation of blood predisposes to clotting; the blood clot can then get dislodged into circulation and finally wedged in one of the arteries in brain cutting off blood supply and causing a stroke.

Rivaroxaban is one of anticoagulants ('blood thinning' drugs) which reduce the risk of excessive clotting and so the risk of stroke. So, the answer is yes - a previous stroke automatically places your mother in the high risk category - but she seems to be on a good treatment to reduce this risk as much as possible.

Dr. Petr Ruzicka PhD FRCP
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