Anticoagulant under-prescribing may raise stroke risk in AF

MORTALITY rates from stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) are excessively high and a contributing factor may be the under-prescribing of anticoagulants, Australian experts say.

Researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Ingham Institute looked at nearly 27,000 cases of ischaemic stroke occurring between 2000 and 2006 in the Program of Research Informing Stroke
Management (PRISM) study, and found that a quarter were due to atrial fibrillation (AF).

Patients with AF were twice as likely to die in hospital and had mortality rates of nearly 40% a year after their stroke, a rate that was twice as high as those without AF.

Lead author and UNSW conjoint Associate Professor John Worthington said doctors were under-utilising anticoagulants because of an excessive concern over bleeding risk, despite “robust guidelines” being in place for treating AF patients older than 65 years.

The study