Secondary Prevention of Stroke in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation: Factors Influencing the Prescription of Oral Anticoagulation at Discharge

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Abstract

Background

Oral anticoagulation (OAC) is the only treatment that has shown a significant benefit to reduce the risk of recurrence in patients with ischemic stroke and nonvalvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF). However, OAC is still underused, even at discharge from neurological centers. The objective of this study was to identify the reasons underlying the prescription of OAC at discharge after an ischemic stroke in patients with NVAF.

Methods

We investigated the reasons why ischemic stroke patients with NVAF were not treated with OAC at discharge from 40 centers located in 5 European countries (Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, and Portugal).

Results

Of 320 ischemic stroke survivors at discharge, 186 (58.1%) received OAC, while 260 (81.3%) patients were theoretically eligible according to guidelines and the absence of contraindications. There were significant differences between countries and the logistic regression analysis found being already under OAC before stroke, having no leukoaraiosis, having no potential contraindication, being younger than 75 years, being married and suffering from angina pectoris as independent predictors of being discharged under OAC.

Conclusion

This study suggests that besides patient-related factors, the prescription of OAC is also significantly influenced by the social environment and national practices.

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