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      Antithrombotic therapy in elderly patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation: a pilot study

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          Non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) is one common arrhythmia in the elderly. However, use of antithrombotic therapy in this population is not well known in the People’s Republic of China. This study aimed at investigating antithrombotic therapy status in elderly patients with NVAF in our hospital.


          A cross-sectional study of consecutive geriatric patients aged ≥60 years with NVAF who discharged from our hospital between January 2012 and December 2013 were collected. CHA 2DS 2-VASc score (cardiac failure or dysfunction, hypertension, age ≥75 [doubled], diabetes, stroke or transient ischemic attack [doubled], vascular disease, age 65–74, and sex category [female]) was used to analyze antithrombotic indication.


          We consecutively collected data of 1,000 discharged elderly patients (≥60 years) with NVAF (mean age 75.3±8.0 years, 75 years or older 54.7%, female 42.7%). The proportion of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation and non-paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (persistent or permanent) patients were 39.4% and 60.6%, respectively. Among 1,000 patients, 29.1% received oral anticoagulant therapy (OAT), including warfarin (27.8%) and novel oral anticoagulants (1.3%), 39.5% of patients received antiplatelet therapy, and 31.4% received neither therapy. Based on CHA 2DS 2-VASc score for stroke risk stratification, 68.9% patients with score ≥1 and 70.2% patients with score ≥2 received antithrombotic therapy, while the rates of OAT were 29.1% and 29.5%, respectively. Among patients with high stroke risk, those with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation were less likely to receive OAT compared with the patients with non-paroxysmal atrial fibrillation (19.5% vs 35.7%, P<0.001). The patients ≥75 years old had lower rate of OAT than the patients <75 years old (25.8% vs 34.8%, P=0.003). The patients with coronary artery disease had lower rate of OAT than the patients without coronary artery disease (24.4% vs 33.4%, P=0.003). Sex and history of stroke or transient ischemic attack had no effect on the use of OAT (30.8% vs 27.9%, P=0.326 and 28.8% vs 29.8%, P=0.761, respectively).


          OAT in elderly patients with NVAF in our hospital is underused, especially in those patients with higher risk of stroke.

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          Meta-analysis: antithrombotic therapy to prevent stroke in patients who have nonvalvular atrial fibrillation.

          Atrial fibrillation is a strong independent risk factor for stroke. To characterize the efficacy and safety of antithrombotic agents for stroke prevention in patients who have atrial fibrillation, adding 13 recent randomized trials to a previous meta-analysis. Randomized trials identified by using the Cochrane Stroke Group search strategy, 1966 to March 2007, unrestricted by language. All published randomized trials with a mean follow-up of 3 months or longer that tested antithrombotic agents in patients who have nonvalvular atrial fibrillation. Two coauthors independently extracted information regarding interventions; participants; and occurrences of ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, major extracranial bleeding, and death. Twenty-nine trials included 28,044 participants (mean age, 71 years; mean follow-up, 1.5 years). Compared with the control, adjusted-dose warfarin (6 trials, 2900 participants) and antiplatelet agents (8 trials, 4876 participants) reduced stroke by 64% (95% CI, 49% to 74%) and 22% (CI, 6% to 35%), respectively. Adjusted-dose warfarin was substantially more efficacious than antiplatelet therapy (relative risk reduction, 39% [CI, 22% to 52%]) (12 trials, 12 963 participants). Other randomized comparisons were inconclusive. Absolute increases in major extracranial hemorrhage were small (< or =0.3% per year) on the basis of meta-analysis. Methodological features and quality varied substantially and often were incompletely reported. Adjusted-dose warfarin and antiplatelet agents reduce stroke by approximately 60% and by approximately 20%, respectively, in patients who have atrial fibrillation. Warfarin is substantially more efficacious (by approximately 40%) than antiplatelet therapy. Absolute increases in major extracranial hemorrhage associated with antithrombotic therapy in participants from the trials included in this meta-analysis were less than the absolute reductions in stroke. Judicious use of antithrombotic therapy importantly reduces stroke for most patients who have atrial fibrillation.
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            Prevalence of diagnosed atrial fibrillation in adults: national implications for rhythm management and stroke prevention: the AnTicoagulation and Risk Factors in Atrial Fibrillation (ATRIA) Study.

            Atrial fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia in elderly persons and a potent risk factor for stroke. However, recent prevalence and projected future numbers of persons with atrial fibrillation are not well described. To estimate prevalence of atrial fibrillation and US national projections of the numbers of persons with atrial fibrillation through the year 2050. Cross-sectional study of adults aged 20 years or older who were enrolled in a large health maintenance organization in California and who had atrial fibrillation diagnosed between July 1, 1996, and December 31, 1997. Prevalence of atrial fibrillation in the study population of 1.89 million; projected number of persons in the United States with atrial fibrillation between 1995-2050. A total of 17 974 adults with diagnosed atrial fibrillation were identified during the study period; 45% were aged 75 years or older. The prevalence of atrial fibrillation was 0.95% (95% confidence interval, 0.94%-0.96%). Atrial fibrillation was more common in men than in women (1.1% vs 0.8%; P<.001). Prevalence increased from 0.1% among adults younger than 55 years to 9.0% in persons aged 80 years or older. Among persons aged 50 years or older, prevalence of atrial fibrillation was higher in whites than in blacks (2.2% vs 1.5%; P<.001). We estimate approximately 2.3 million US adults currently have atrial fibrillation. We project that this will increase to more than 5.6 million (lower bound, 5.0; upper bound, 6.3) by the year 2050, with more than 50% of affected individuals aged 80 years or older. Our study confirms that atrial fibrillation is common among older adults and provides a contemporary basis for estimates of prevalence in the United States. The number of patients with atrial fibrillation is likely to increase 2.5-fold during the next 50 years, reflecting the growing proportion of elderly individuals. Coordinated efforts are needed to face the increasing challenge of optimal stroke prevention and rhythm management in patients with atrial fibrillation.
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              2012 focused update of the ESC Guidelines for the management of atrial fibrillation: an update of the 2010 ESC Guidelines for the management of atrial fibrillation. Developed with the special contribution of the European Heart Rhythm Association.


                Author and article information

                Clin Interv Aging
                Clin Interv Aging
                Clinical Interventions in Aging
                Clinical Interventions in Aging
                Dove Medical Press
                02 March 2015
                : 10
                : 515-519
                Department of Geriatrics, Peking University First Hospital, Beijing, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Meilin Liu, Department of Geriatrics, Peking University First Hospital, Xi Shi Ku Street No 7, Xicheng District, Beijing 100034, People’s Republic of China, Tel +86 108 357 2022, Fax +86 106 655 2095, Email meilinliu@
                © 2015 Xiang et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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