Anticoagulation therapy in elderly patients with atrial fibrillation: results from the Registry of Atrial Fibrillation To Investigate the Implementation of New Guidelines (RAFTING)

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BackgroundPatients with atrial fibrillation aged 75 years or older have a CHA2DS2VASc score that dictates oral anticoagulants. We recorded physicians’ anticoagulation attitudes in elderly patients with atrial fibrillation and assessed the impact of stroke and bleeding risk.MethodsAtrial Fibrillation To Investigate the Implementation of New Guidelines , a countrywide prospective registry performed in Greece during 2010, a period when only vitamin-K antagonists (VKA) were available, enrolled 1127 patients with atrial fibrillation diagnosis during Emergency Departments visit in 31 representative hospitals; 807 patients had known atrial fibrillation and of those, 342 aged 75 years or older. We recorded preadmission anticoagulation treatment and associated it with clinical characteristics and stroke/bleeding risk.ResultsPatients on VKA (n = 207; 61%) were younger (81 ± 4 vs. 83 ± 5; P < 0.001) but no other significant differences were noticed, including mean CHA2DS2VASc (high: 2–4, very high: >4) or modified HASBLED (low: 0–2, high: >2) scores. VKA were prescribed in 65% of patients with very high CHA2DS2VASc score as compared with 55% of those with high score (P = 0.065). VKA were used equally in low or high-modified HASBLED score (61% vs. 59%; P = 0.78). The interaction between CHA2DS2VASc and HASBLED was significant (P < 0.001) in patients on VKA; in patients with low HASBLED, VKA use was similar in high versus very high CHA2DS2VASc score (58 vs. 64%), whereas in patients with high HASBLED, VKA use tended to be higher in very high versus high CHA2DS2VASc score (66 vs. 43%).ConclusionIn this countrywide atrial fibrillation registry, 61% of elderly patients received VKA, a decision driven mainly by stroke risk. VKA use was not higher in patients with low bleeding risk.

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