Beast condition explained


Bok loosehead prop Tendai Mtawarira has been diagnosed with Atrial Fibrillation and is in Cape Town at the moment to be treated for his condition. Key to his recovery is the appropriate treatment and preventative medication to reduce his risks of stroke as a result of atrial fibrillation. With the right treatment, his condition can be managed, so that he can return to playing rugby.

Atrial Fibrillation (AF) is the most common sustained heart rhythm condition, affecting up to 70 million people worldwide, with one in four adults over the age of 40 developing the condition in their lifetime, rising to 10 % in people over the age of 80. Prevalence of AF is predicted to double by 2050, making the effective management of the condition a healthcare priority. People with AF are more likely to experience blood clots, which increase the risk of stroke by 500 %. Up to three million people worldwide suffer strokes related to AF each year, which are typically severe and disabling, with one half of this population dying within one year. Strokes due to AF tend to be severe, with an increased likelihood of death (20 %), and disability (60 %). Many AF-related strokes can be prevented with appropriate antithrombotic therapy.

And for the first time in 50 years, an alternative oral blood thinner to Warfarin has been launched in South Africa for the prevention of strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation. The new drug was approved by the South African Medicines Control Council in September and is manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim.

The new drug has already been approved for the prevention of stroke in AF in the EU, USA, Canada, Japan, Australia, Botswana and Namibia, following more than 20 years of research and development.

Historically, the standard of care to prevent strokes in patients with AF has been Vitamin K antagonists, like warfarin. Whilst effective, they have limitations such as the need for regular blood coagulation monitoring and various food-drug and drug-drug interactions. The new drug will not require monitoring due to its predictable drug effect and it does not interact with foods.


  1. Tank, was your medical advice a copy and paste? Shame on you especially because you must have a stack of doctors in your contact list from UCT!
    Using anticoagulants (blood thinners) in a young, fit person who plays a collision sport like rugby would be ludicrous. All it takes is a big knock to the head and the potential for a bleed on the brain is massive. It is far more likely that beast would be undergoing a therapy known as radio-frequency ablation in which the malfunctioning pacemaking pathways from the right atrium are destroyed. This provides a more permanent solution without the need for anticoagulation.
    If anything, Beast would be on a daily Aspirin to reduce his risk of clot formation.

    Regardless, let’s just hope all goes well with the procedure and he’s back to full fitness soon. Unless Gurthro is at peak condition, our loosehead stocks are looking thin. God help us if we have to bring Dean Greyling in again – Costus

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