News | Atrial Fibrillation | May 17, 2022

Study of National Registry Uncovers Racial Disparities Around Anticoagulation for Atrial Fibrillation

Results indicate Black patients are 25% less likely to receive stroke-preventing medication

Results indicate Black patients are 25% less likely to receive stroke-preventing medication

Getty Images

May 17, 2022 — Results of a new study reveal Black patients hospitalized with atrial fibrillation (AF) are under-prescribed blood thinners that can reduce the risk of stroke. Further, the findings indicate Black patients experience higher rates of AF-related outcomes like stroke one-year after discharge compared to white patients. Findings were presented as part of Heart Rhythm 2022 on Saturday, April 30.

Oral anticoagulants (OAC), a family of medications commonly known as blood thinners, work to prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of stroke. AF patients have a fivefold higher risk of stroke (CDC) and are commonly given OAC therapy. The study authors looked to see if OAC rates differ by race and ethnicity in hospitalized patients with AF and how differential prescribing potentially relates to inequities in AF outcomes.

The study revealed Black patients are 25% less likely to be discharged on OACs than white patients. The adjusted odds ratio (aOR), or rate of receiving OACs adjusted for patient demographics, medical history, year of admission, socioeconomic status, and hospital was [aOR] 0.75; 95% CI 0.67- 0.84 for Black patients, compared to white patients. At one-year, Black patients also had higher rates of stroke (aOR 2.07; 95% CI 1.34-3.20), bleeding (aOR 2.08; 95% CI 1.5-2.8), and mortality (aOR 1.22; 95% CI 1.02-1.47) compared to white patients. Hispanic patients also had higher stroke rates (aOR 2.02; 95% CI 1.38-2.95) at one year compared to white patients.

Researchers compared OAC initiation and AF-related outcomes by race and ethnicity using Get With The Guidelines-AFib – a national quality improvement initiative for hospitalized AF patients. The study evaluated a total of 69,553 patients hospitalized with AF across 159 sites between 2014-2020. Overall, 78.5% were discharged on any OAC therapy. Medicare linkage data was used to assess the secondary outcomes including ischemic stroke, bleeding, or all-cause mortality at one-year post-discharge by race and ethnicity.

“Our findings show that racial disparities exist in ongoing, follow-up care for atrial fibrillation, which are in-turn, negatively impacting patient outcomes. Now, we must get to the root of the issue and understand what factors are driving these differences,” said lead author, Utibe R. Essien, MD, MPH, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. “Every patient, regardless of race or ethnicity, deserves the chance to have life-saving treatment and we must work together to deliver equitable, compassionate care.”

The authors hope these findings will generate conversations and actionable next steps on how to reduce OAC inequities and improve AF outcomes.

For more information:

Find more HRS22 conference coverage here.

Related Content

News | HRS

September 21, 2023 — Vektor Medical, developers of the only FDA-cleared technology to accurately map arrhythmias using ...

Home September 21, 2023
Feature | HRS | By Melinda Taschetta-Millane

The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) announced the full lineup of speakers and sessions, including late-breaking clinical ...

Home May 17, 2023
News | HRS

May 2, 2023 — The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) is making final preparations for its Annual Heart Rhythm Meeting, HRS2023 ...

Home May 02, 2023
Feature | HRS | By Lars Thording, PhD

Hospitals in the U.S. are suffering under a debilitating post-pandemic financial and operational trauma. Ascension ...

Home August 23, 2022
News | HRS

August 4, 2022 — The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) is a professional society representing a diverse population of ...

Home August 04, 2022
News | HRS

May 17, 2022 — Heart Rhythm 2022 has come to a close, and the Heart Rhythm Society has released some stats regarding ...

Home May 17, 2022
Videos | HRS

Interview with Andrew D. Krahn, M.D., FHRS, head of the division of cardiology at St. Paul’s Hospital, and professor of ...

Home May 22, 2020
Feature | HRS

May 20, 2020 — Here is the complete list of late-breaking clinical trials (LBCT) and links to articles on all of them ...

Home May 20, 2020
Feature | HRS | Dave Fornell, Editor

May 15, 2019 — The Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) had 21 late-breaking study presentations at the 2019 Heart Rhythm ...

Home May 15, 2019
Feature | HRS | Dave Fornell

Here is an aggregation of all the news and late-breaking studies presented at the 2018 Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) ...

Home May 18, 2018
Subscribe Now