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Use of oral anticoagulants in African-American and Caucasian patients with atrial fibrillation: is there a treatment disparity?

Authors Akinboboye O

Received 18 September 2014

Accepted for publication 8 December 2014

Published 18 May 2015 Volume 2015:8 Pages 217—228

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JMDH.S74529

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Olakunle Akinboboye

Queens Heart Institute, Rosedale, NY, USA

Abstract: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is a very common cardiac arrhythmia, and its prevalence is increasing along with aging in the developed world. This review discusses racial differences in the epidemiology and treatment of AF between African-American and Caucasian patients. Additionally, the effect of race on warfarin and novel oral anticoagulant use is discussed, as well as the role that physicians and patients play in achieving optimal treatment outcomes. Despite having a lower prevalence of AF compared with Caucasians, African-Americans suffer disproportionately from stroke and its sequelae. The possible reasons for this paradox include poorer access to health care, lower health literacy, and a higher prevalence of other stroke-risk factors among African-Americans. Consequently, it is important for providers to evaluate the effects of race, health literacy, access to health care, and cultural barriers on the use of anticoagulation in the management of AF. Warfarin-dose requirements vary across racial groups, with African-American patients requiring a higher dose than Caucasians to maintain a therapeutic international normalized ratio; the novel oral anticoagulants (dabigatran, rivaroxaban, and apixaban) seem to differ in this regard, although data are currently limited. Minority racial groups are not proportionally represented in either real-world studies or clinical trials, but as more information becomes available and other social issues are addressed, the treatment disparities between African-American and Caucasian patients should decrease.

Keywords: antithrombotic, atrial fibrillation, stroke, warfarin, race

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