In the recent years, antithrombotic prophylaxis in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) has changed significantly. The main aim of this study is to assess the temporal trends of antithrombotic therapy and identify factors predisposing oral anticoagulant (OAC) use in stroke prevention in AF patients.
The present study is a retrospective, observational, single-center study, which includes consecutively hospitalized patients in the reference cardiology center from January 2004 to December 2019.
A total of 9656 patients (43.7% female, mean age 71.2 years) with AF between 2004-2019 are included. Among the total study population, in most of the patients (81.1%), OAC therapy was used, antiplatelet (APT) therapy was prescribed for 13.5% patients, heparins for 2.1% patients and 3.3% of patients did not receive any stroke prevention. OAC prescription significantly increased from 61.6% in 2004 to 97.4% in 2019. The independent predictors of OAC prescription were: the period of hospitalization, non-paroxysmal AF, age, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, previous thromboembolism, hospitalization due to electrical cardioversion, ablation or AF without any procedures.
In hospitalized patients with AF, during sixteen years of the study period, a significant increase in OAC use and a decrease in APT use were noted. Factors other than these included in the CHADS-VASc score were independent predictors of OAC use.