More stroke patients going home on anticoagulants

February 15, 2012

A recent study indicates that 95% of stroke patients with atrial fibrillation received prescriptions for anticoagulants in 2010 if they were treated at hospitals participating in the Get With The Guidelines–Stroke program.

Researchers surveyed nearly 1,400 hospitals in the United States that participated in GWTG-Stroke. The study included almost 200,000 patients with AF, 47.6% of whom were eligible for treatment with anticoagulants. Hospitals with a higher volume of stroke patients, as well as academic hospitals, were more likely to send patients with AF home with anticoagulants.

The study showed that the number of patients ineligible to receive anticoagulants because of other problems, such as being at high risk for falls, dropped from 70% to 28%. Rates of anticoagulation were lower in women than in men (odds ratio [OR]=0.94). When compared with whites, African Americans and Hispanics were less likely to receive anticoagulation (OR=0.77 and OR=0.81, respectively), and patients with diabetes were less likely to be discharged on anticoagulation (OR=0.91), although use of anticoagulants increased across all groups.

Source: Lewis WR, Fonarow GC, Grau-Sepulveda MV, et al. Improvement in use of anticoagulation therapy in patients with ischemic stroke: Results from Get With The Guidelines–Stroke. Am Heart J. 2011;162:692-699.e2.