Thursday, August 28, 2008

Warfarin underused by patients at risk for stroke

This study comes as no surprise to anyone who has worked in an anticoagulation clinic. There are far too many people in the community not being properly managed on their warfarin, or aren't taking it when they should be.

From Reuters:
New research indicates that most patients with atrial fibrillation -- the most common type of heart arrhythmia -- who suffered a stroke and were eligible for anticoagulation treatment, were not taking any warfarin or were not taking enough.

"These are missed opportunities for stroke prevention," lead author Dr. David J. Gladstone, from the University of Toronto, said in a statement. "Sadly, we frequently see patients admitted to a hospital with a devastating stroke who are known to have atrial fibrillation, yet were either not taking warfarin or were taking a dose that is not therapeutic."

Warfarin, also known by the trade name Coumadin, can reduce the risk of stroke by preventing the formation of blood clots, which often occur in patients with atrial fibrillation. The clot may detach from the wall of the blood vessel and become lodged in the brain, blocking the flow of blood and causing a stroke. Atrial fibrillation doesn't always cause symptoms, but the condition can be quite dangerous.

As they reported in the current online issue of Stroke, the researchers analyzed data for 597 patients with known atrial fibrillation and potentially preventable strokes who were entered in the Registry of the Canadian Stroke Network from 2003 to 2007....more

No comments: