Abstract 3818: Reasons To Withhold Anticoagulation In Atrial Fibrillation Subjects After Ischemic Stroke
Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is an important modifiable and independent risk factor for stroke. AF is associated with 2-4% annual risk for first time stroke and about 8% annually for recurrent stroke. Anticoagulant therapy reduces the risk by 60%, while the relative risk reduction (RRR) obtained from antiplatelet therapy is only 20%. The effect is more robust for secondary than for primary prevention. Risk stratification schemes are utilized to assess an individual’s risk of future stroke and to determine the optimal antithrombotic or anticoagulation regimen for stroke prevention. Despite Warfarin’s superiority over antiplatelet therapy to reduce the risk of AF related systemic embolism, Warfarin is largely underutilized. The aim of this study was to determine the frequency and reasons behind withholding anticoagulation in patient with AF related cardioembolic stroke in our institution.
Method: We extracted patients from our Get With The Guideline’s (GWTG) database who were admitted to Mayo Clinic AZ between January 2004 and December 2009. Two authors (TK and NL) independently identified all patients with the diagnosis of atrial fibrillation who were not prescribed Warfarin therapy upon discharge, then reviewed to identify the reason(s) why anticoagulation was not initiated. Factors such as discharge disposition (home, acute rehabilitation, long term nursing facility, hospice, other) and functional status (able to ambulate independently, with assistance, unable to ambulate, or not documented) were also assessed to help support the decision process.
Results: From a total of 1295 patients, 305 with AF were identified. Patients who expired 48 (3.7%) from un-related causes were excluded. Of the 257 patients, 206 (80.2%) were anticoagulated and 51 (19.8%) were not anticoagulated. We found that in the anticoagulated group, patients discharged home were more likely to receive anticoagulation (89.2%), followed by those discharged to acute rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities (77%). Those discharged to hospice were the least likely to receive anticoagulation (6.4%). In addition, patients with greater functional ability were also more likely to receive anticoagulation (independent 89.8%, vs. assisted 76.7%, vs. non-ambulatory 33.3%; p<0.0001). Reasons to withhold anticoagulation therapy at discharge included terminal illness/comfort measures only (40.0%); risk/discomfort due to bleeding (24%); risk of falls (13.0%); and patient refusal (9.0%).
Discussion: Based on the results, we conclude that functional status and disposition at discharge are significant factors influencing the decision to anticoagulate after cardioembolic stroke attributed to AF.
- © 2012 by American Heart Association, Inc.