Many AFib Patients Not Taking Oral Anticoagulants Despite Stroke Risk

HealthDay News — Half of patients hospitalized with atrial fibrillation aren’t receiving oral anticoagulants (OACs), according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association, held from Nov. 12 to 16 in New Orleans.

Sean Pokorney, MD, MBA, an electrophysiology fellow at the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C., and colleagues analyzed 1,579,456 admissions for atrial fibrillation at 812 hospitals across the United States over 5 years. The patients in the study were 40 and older, stayed in the hospital for at least 1 day, and had a stroke risk score of 2 or higher.

The team found that only 46% of patients received OACs at discharge. The researchers said possible reasons for the low use of OACs in these patients include: poor understanding about the condition and the risk of stroke; concerns about using the drugs in these patients; and the belief among health care providers and systems that use of the drugs is an outpatient, rather than an inpatient, issue.

“This low rate of OAC use in hospitalized patients highlights an important opportunity to improve care in atrial fibrillation patients,” Pokorney said in a Duke news release.


Pokorney SD, Hylek EM, Fastenau J, et al. Low Rates of Oral Anticoagulation Use Among Patients Hospitalized With Atrial Fibrillation and at High Risk for Stroke. Presented at: The 2016 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions. November 12-16, 2016; New Orleans, LA. Abstract 17636