Feature | February 24, 2015

Cardiologist Survey Highlights Complexity of Managing Non-Valvular Atrial Fibrillation

Results reinforce need for individualized, coordinated approach to patient care

February 24, 2015 — Daiichi Sankyo and the Heart Rhythm Society announced results from a global survey, which polled cardiologists from around the world and revealed that a majority (58 percent) agree there is no such thing as a "typical" non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) patient. Additionally, 88 percent of cardiologists agree that NVAF patients are diverse, and therefore it is important to focus on individual co-morbidities and patient characteristics to provide appropriate disease management.

On average, according to the survey, NVAF patients have about three co-morbid conditions.

The global survey, conducted online by Harris Poll in July and August 2014 on behalf of the Heart Rhythm Society and Daiichi Sankyo, involved 1,100 cardiologists from seven countries, including Brazil, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The survey examined the management of NVAF. Results indicate patient risk of bleeding, history of hemorrhagic stroke and patient compliance are the top three very important or important factors cardiologists consider when managing anticoagulation therapy for stroke prevention in patients with NVAF (from a given list of 23 factors). The survey also found that, when managing anticoagulation therapy for stroke prevention in patients with NVAF, the most important factor in choosing a treatment is the overall efficacy profile of the medication.

Among cardiologists who have at least some patients not receiving oral anticoagulation (OAC) therapy, on average, approximately one out of every three of these patients have an appropriate stroke risk level to warrant OAC therapy based on current treatment guidelines. Globally, patient refusal, high risk of bleeding and contraindications were the top three reasons why some patients with NVAF do not receive treatment with an OAC for stroke prevention.

"A revealing finding from this global survey is that a significant portion of NVAF patients who warrant anticoagulation are not receiving OAC therapy," said Hugh Calkins, M.D., FHRS and immediate past president, Heart Rhythm Society. "Another particularly important finding was that across all countries surveyed, nearly all cardiologists reported that NVAF patients are likely to have experienced a delay in diagnosis."

The survey reported that nearly all cardiologists (98 percent) believe NVAF patients may experience a delay in diagnosis primarily because they are asymptomatic (86 percent), but also due to low awareness among primary care physicians, general practitioners (40 percent) and the general public (36 percent).

The survey also explored unmet needs in the management of NVAF, including coordinated care and the role of the caregiver. Coordinated care in other disease areas has been found to improve patient outcomes, and according to the survey, 84 percent of cardiologists believe that coordinated care is important for the management of NVAF. However, only one in three (33 percent) believe that coordinated NVAF care is currently adequate in their respective countries.

For more information: www.daiichisankyo.com

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