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Underutilization of anticoagulation therapy in chronic atrial fibrillation.

Abstract
Atrial fibrillation, the most common chronic arrhythmia, results in an increased risk of stroke. Anticoagulation therapy can reduce this risk, but appears to be underused. The objective of this study was to examine the use of warfarin and prevalence of stroke in patients with rheumatic, nonrheumatic valvular and nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Between January 1993 and December 1998, 457 chronic atrial fibrillation patients with continuous follow-up in our hospital were identified as having rheumatic heart disease (n = 114): nonrheumatic valvular disease (n = 65); or nonvalvular disease (n = 278). Warfarin was used less often in patients with nonrheumatic valvular (16.7%) and nonvalvular diseases (20.1%) than in those with rheumatic heart disease (81.6%, p < 0.001). In contrast, the prevalence of stroke among patients with nonvalvular disease was 40.3% which was similar to the 33.3% found in patients with rheumatic heart disease but significantly higher than the 24.6% found in patients with nonrheumatic valvular disease (p < 0.05). A history of stroke did not alter the trend of use of warfarin among the three groups of patients. Only 20.6% of patients on warfarin received monthly monitoring of prothrombin time. In conclusion, the anticoagulation therapy in our patients with chronic atrial fibrillation, regardless of their associated valvular diseases, is significantly underutilized. This underuse could account for a high prevalence of stroke. This risk of stroke, however, is less in patients with nonrheumatic valvular discase than in those with nonvalvular atrial fibrillation.
AuthorsG B Guo, H W Chang, M C Chen, C H Yang
JournalJapanese heart journal (Jpn Heart J) Vol. 42 Issue 1 Pg. 55-65 (Jan 2001) ISSN: 0021-4868 [Print] Japan
PMID11324807 (Publication Type: Journal Article)
Chemical References
  • Anticoagulants
  • Warfarin
Topics
  • Aged
  • Anticoagulants (therapeutic use)
  • Atrial Fibrillation (drug therapy)
  • Chronic Disease
  • Drug Utilization
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk
  • Stroke (epidemiology, etiology)
  • Warfarin (therapeutic use)

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