The impact of frailty on the utilisation of antithrombotic therapy in older patients with atrial fibrillation

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Journal Article
Age and Ageing, 2009, 38 (2), pp. 156 - 162
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Objective: to investigate the impact of frailty on the utilisation of antithrombotics and on clinical outcomes in older people with atrial fibrillation (AF). Design: prospective study of a cohort of 220 acute inpatients aged ≥70 years with AF, admitted to a teaching hospital in Sydney, Australia (April-July 2007), with 207 followed up over 6 months. Results: a total of 140 patients (64%) were identified as frail using avalidated tool. Frail patients were less likely to receive warfarin than non-frail on hospital admission (P = 0.002) and discharge (P < 0.001). During hospitalisation, the proportion of frail participants prescribed warfarin decreased by 10.7% and that of non-frail increased by 6.3%. Over the 6-month follow-up, 43 major or severe haemorrhages (20.8%), 20 cardioembolic strokes (9.7%) and 40 deaths (19.2%) were reported. Compared to non-frail, frail participants were significantly more likely to experience embolic stroke (RR 3.5, 95% CI 1.0-12.0, P < 0.05), had a small non-significant increase in risk of major haemorrhage (RR 1.5, 95% CI = 0.7-3.0, P = 0.29) and had greater mortality (RR 2.8, 95% CI 1.2-6.5, P = 0.01). Conclusion: frail older inpatients with AF are significantly less likely to receive warfarin than non-frail and appear more vulnerable to adverse clinical outcomes, with and without antithrombotic therapy. © The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the British Geriatrics Society. All rights reserved.
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