Availability of patient decision aids for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation: A systematic review

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Abstract

Background

Atrial fibrillation is a common irregular heart rhythm that increases patients' risk of stroke. Aspirin, warfarin, direct oral anticoagulants, and an implantable device can reduce this risk. Given the availability of multiple comparable options, this decision depends on patient preferences and is appropriate for the use of decision aids and other efforts to promote shared decision making. The objective of this review was to examine the existence and accessibility of, as well as select outcomes associated with, published, formally evaluated patient decision aids for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation.

Methods

Six databases were searched from inception to March 2016 with a research librarian. Two authors independently reviewed potential articles, selected trials meeting inclusion criteria, and assessed outcome measures. Outcomes included patient knowledge, involvement, choice, and decisional conflict.

Results

The search resulted in 666 articles; most were excluded for not examining stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation and 7 studies were eventually included. Six decision aids displayed combinations of aspirin, warfarin, or no therapy; 1 included a direct oral anticoagulant. Interventions were associated with increased patient knowledge, increased likelihood of making a choice, and low decisional conflict. Use of decision aids in this review was associated with less selection of warfarin. None of the tested decision aids are currently available.

Discussion

Published patient decision aids for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation are not accessible for clinical use. Given the availability of multiple comparable options, there is a need to develop and test new patient decision aids in this context.

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