Back to Journals » Clinical Interventions in Aging » Volume 9

Risk scores and geriatric profile: can they really help us in anticoagulation decision making among older patients suffering from atrial fibrillation?

Authors Maes F, Dalleur O, Henrard S, Wouters D, Scavée C, Spinewine A, Boland B

Received 17 February 2014

Accepted for publication 9 April 2014

Published 15 July 2014 Volume 2014:9 Pages 1091—1099


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Frédéric Maes,1,* Olivia Dalleur,2,3,* Séverine Henrard,4 Dominique Wouters,2 Christophe Scavée,1 Anne Spinewine,3,5 Benoit Boland4,6

1Cardiology, Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc, Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium; 2Pharmacy Department, Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc, Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium; 3Louvain Drug Research Institute, Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium; 4Institute of Health and Society (IRSS), Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium; 5Pharmacy Department, CHU Dinant-Godinne, Université catholique de Louvain, Yvoir, Belgium; 6Geriatric Medicine, Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc, Université catholique de Louvain, Brussels, Belgium

*The first two authors have contributed equally to the work

Objectives: Anticoagulation for the prevention of cardio-embolism is most frequently indicated but largely underused in frail older patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). This study aimed at identifying characteristics associated with anticoagulation underuse.
Methods: A cross-sectional study of consecutive geriatric patients aged ≥75 years, with AF and clear anticoagulation indication (CHADS2 [Congestive heart failure, Hypertension, Age >75, Diabetes mellitus, and prior Stroke or transient ischemic attack] ≥2) upon hospital admission. All patients benefited from a comprehensive geriatric assessment. Their risks of stroke and bleeding were predicted using CHADS2 and HEMORR2HAGES (Hepatic or renal disease, Ethanol abuse, Malignancy, Older (age >75 years), Reduced platelet count or function, Rebleed risk, Hypertension (uncontrolled), Anemia, Genetic factors, Excessive fall risk, and Stroke) scores, respectively.
Results: Anticoagulation underuse was observed in 384 (50%) of 773 geriatric patients with AF (median age 85 years; female 57%, cognitive disorder 33%, nursing home 20%). No geriatric characteristic was found to be associated with anticoagulation underuse. Conversely, anticoagulation underuse was markedly increased in the patients treated with aspirin (odds ratio [OR] [95% confidence interval]: 5.3 [3.8; 7.5]). Other independent predictors of anticoagulation underuse were ethanol abuse (OR: 4.0 [1.4; 13.3]) and age ≥90 years (OR: 2.0 [1.2; 3.4]). Anticoagulation underuse was not inferior in patients with a lower bleeding risk and/or a higher stroke risk and underuse was surprisingly not inferior either in the AF patients who had previously had a stroke.
Conclusion: Half of this geriatric population did not receive any anticoagulation despite a clear indication, regardless of their individual bleeding or stroke risks. Aspirin use is the main characteristic associated with anticoagulation underuse.

Keywords: atrial fibrillation, anticoagulation, antiplatelet therapy, geriatric medicine, under-prescribing

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]  View Full Text [HTML][Machine readable]