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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Nov;65(11):2405-2412. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15058. Epub 2017 Aug 21.

Effect of New Oral Anticoagulants on Prescribing Practices for Atrial Fibrillation in Older Adults.

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Department of Medicine, School of Medicine, Washington University, Saint Louis, Missouri.



To determine the effect of new oral anticoagulants (NOACs) on prescribing practices in older adults with atrial fibrillation (AF).


Retrospective observational cohort study.


Academic medical center in St. Louis, Missouri.


Individuals aged 75 and older with AF admitted to the hospital from October 2010 through September 2015 (N = 6,568, 50% female, 15% non-white).


Information on NOACs and warfarin prescribed at discharge was obtained from hospital discharge summaries, and linear regression was used to examine quarterly trends in their use. Multivariable logistic regression was used to assess independent predictors of anticoagulant use.


NOAC use increased over time (correlation coefficient (r) = 0.87, P < .001), warfarin use did not change (r = -0.16, P = .50), and overall anticoagulant use (NOACs and warfarin) increased (r = 0.68, P = .001). NOAC use increased over time in all age groups (75-79, 80-84, 85-89) except aged 90 and older, but increasing age attenuated the rate of NOAC uptake. There was no consistent relationship between age and warfarin or overall anticoagulant use, except that individuals aged 90 and older had consistently lower use. Overall, fewer than 45% of participants were prescribed an anticoagulant. In multivariable analysis, younger age, white race, female sex, higher hemoglobin, higher creatinine clearance, being on a medical service, hypertension, stroke or transient ischemic attack, no history of intracranial hemorrhage, and a modified HAS-BLED score of less than 3 increased the likelihood of receiving NOACs.


Prescription of anticoagulants for AF increased in older adults primarily because of an increase in the use of NOACs. Nonetheless, fewer than 45% of participants were prescribed an anticoagulant. Additional research is needed to optimize prescribing practices for older adults with AF.


CHA2DS2-VASc score; atrial fibrillation; creatinine clearance; dementia; new oral anticoagulants; oral anticoagulants; race; warfarin

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