Characterization of the Proportion of Untreated and Antiplatelet Therapy Treated Patients With Atrial Fibrillation

IM Ogilvie, SA Weiner, W Cowell, Gregory Lip

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

27 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the efficacy of oral anticoagulants for stroke prevention in atrial fibrillation (AF), evidence suggests that many patients with AF who should be treated with vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) are treated with antiplatelet therapy or remain untreated. The aims of this study were to determine the proportion of patients with AF in each treatment category in clinical practice and to ascertain whether treatment is appropriate for stroke risk. An extensive search of the biomedical research published since 1994 was performed. Studies delineating the treatment of patients with AF were captured. Seventy-eight studies pertaining to the treatment of patients with AF were identified; 56 studies, containing data from 1980 to 2007, met the inclusion criteria. Over time, the use of VKA therapy for stroke prevention increased, while the proportion of untreated patients decreased; antiplatelet use remained static. Looking at the more recent data, (collected from 2000 onward), the proportion of patients receiving no therapy ranged from 4% to 48% (median 18%), antiplatelet therapy from 10% to 56% (median 30%), and VKA therapy from 9% to 86% (median 52%). Although most studies showed a decrease in the proportion of antiplatelet-treated and untreated patients with increasing stroke risk (12 of 14 studies), many patients at moderate or high risk for stroke were not treated according to guidelines. In conclusion, this review shows that up to 56% of patients with AF are treated with antiplatelet therapy, and up to 48% receive no therapy regardless of stroke risk level. This may reflect the inconvenience associated with VKA use, inadequate assessment of stroke risk, or poor adherence to treatment guidelines. (C) 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. (Am J Cardiol 2011;108:151-161)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)151-161
Number of pages11
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


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