TUESDAY, Oct. 23, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Atrial fibrillation (AF) patients with cancer are less likely to see a cardiologist and fill prescriptions for anticoagulants, according to a study published in the Oct. 16 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

In a study involving 388,045 patients, Wesley T. O’Neal, M.D., M.P.H., from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, and colleagues examined the correlation between early cardiology involvement in nonvalvular AF patients with a history of cancer and oral anticoagulation use, stroke, and bleeding.

Overall, 17 percent of AF patients had a history of cancer. The researchers found that patients with a history of cancer were less likely to have cardiology involvement than those without cancer (relative risk, 0.92). Compared with patients without a history of cancer, those with a history of caner were less likely to fill prescriptions for anticoagulants (relative risk, 0.89); the results were similar across cancer types. The likelihood of filling prescriptions for anticoagulants was increased for patients with cancer if they were seen by a cardiologist (relative risk, 1.48). All cancer patients seen by a cardiology provider had a reduced risk for stroke (hazard ratio, 0.89), without an increased risk for bleeding.

“Although AF patients with cancer were less likely to see a cardiologist, or fill anticoagulant prescriptions, cardiology involvement was associated with increased anticoagulant prescription fills and favorable AF-related outcomes in AF patients with cancer,” the authors write.

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