Study Finds Racial Disparity in Prescription of Anticoagulants in Atrial Fibrillation Patients, Leading to Increased Risk of Stroke

CHIP Faculty Member Yacob Tedla, PhD, co-authored a study published in the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases. The study, “Racial Disparity in the Prescription of Anticoagulants and Risk of Stroke and Bleeding in Atrial Fibrillation Patients,” highlighted a possible explanation for the higher risk of stroke among non-white atrial fibrillation patients.

Oral anticoagulant therapy is proven to be effective at reducing risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation and is the standard treatment for stroke risk reduction in patients with atrial fibrillation and other stroke risk factors. Unfortunately, only 60% of indicated patients are prescribed anticoagulants.

Prior to this study, reasons for the racial disparity in the prescription of oral anticoagulant and the associated risk of stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation were attributed to lack of access to care and lack of health insurance. The study team, however, found that non-white patients with atrial fibrillation who attended a healthcare facility were less likely to receive oral anticoagulants and were at a higher risk of stroke compared to whites even after accounting for insurance status and traditional stroke risk factors.

These findings highlight that the higher risk of stroke among non-white atrial fibrillation patients with access to care may partially be explained by the fact that non-whites are less likely to receive anticoagulants. Identifying modifiable causes of this disparity could improve the quality of care in atrial fibrillation and the associated risk of stroke. Future studies should continue to identify potential determinants of this disparity.

Key contributors to the study include Sarah M. Schwartz, BSc, Philip Silberman, MA, Philip Greenland, MD, and Rod S. Passman, MD, MSCE.

To learn more about the findings and read the abstract, visit ScienceDirect.

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