Contraindications for Anticoagulation in Older Patients with Atrial Fibrillation: A Narrative Review

Author(s): Linda R. Tulner, Ingeborg M.J.A. Kuper, Jos P.C.M. van Campen, Melvin R. Mac Gillavry, Vincent I.H. Kwa, Cornelis H.W. Koks, Jos H.Beijnen, Desiderius P.M. Brandjes

Journal Name: Current Drug Safety

Volume 5 , Issue 3 , 2010

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Background: Oral anticoagulation (OAC) is the most effective treatment to prevent strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). Many older patients are not prescribed OAC. Objective: To explore which co-morbid conditions in older patients with AF have been associated with under-treatment with OAC, or were used as exclusion criteria for trials, or have been associated with increased risk of bleeding. Methods: A Pubmed search was conducted with the terms elderly, atrial fibrillation, stroke risk, bleeding risk, intracranial haemorrhage, cognition, fall risk, renal dysfunction, alcohol abuse, malignancy, polypharmacy, NSAID, under-treatment, under-use and under-prescription. Results: Higher age is associated with under-treatment. Patients with a higher risk of stroke show higher rates of bleeding complications. The associations of bleeding rates with possible contraindications are inconsistent. Discussion: Published bleeding rates reflect selection bias, describing mainly relatively healthy older patients. The use of stratification schemes for stroke risk and for bleeding risk will have to be implemented. Conclusion: The decision to prescribe OAC in older patients with AF remains a challenging task since bleeding risk is difficult to estimate reliably. Stratification schemes may be helpful.

Keywords: Geriatric, elderly, atrial fibrillation, under-treatment, anticoagulation, contraindications, major bleeding risk

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Article Details

Year: 2010
Page: [223 - 233]
Pages: 11
DOI: 10.2174/157488610791698253
Price: $65

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