Barriers to the use of warfarin in non-valvular atrial fibrillation

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Background: Optimising the management of NVAF is proving difficult and the potential to reduce stroke risk is yet to be fully realised. Barriers to using anticoagulants need to be addressed. Aims: To describe GP management of NVAF and barriers to the use of warfarin. Methods: Representative survey of Australian GPs. b: Of the 593 GP participants (response = 64.3%), 46.2% reported the experience of an ischaemic stroke in their NVAF patients without anticoagulation. When asked to select treatment for a hypothetical NVAF patient at 'high' risk of stroke, 71.0% appropriately selected warfarin. In the presence of a minor falls risk, 45.4% of GPs selected warfarin. Only 28.8% would anticoagulate the patient at high risk of stroke with a history of recurrent nosebleeds and 16.9% would anti-coagulate such a patient with a treated peptic ulcer bleed. 37.9% agreed that 'it is hard to decide whether the benefits of warfarin outweigh the risks', while only 54.3% agreed they fully understood their patients' views on both the benefits and risks of warfarin. Conclusion: Any strategy to improve the evidence based management of NVAF must address the excessive concerns clinicians have about anticoagulation. We need to reduce anxiety about 'acts of commission' in the management of NVAF.
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Gattellari, Melina
Worthington, John
Zwar, N
Middleton, S
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UNSW Faculty