Age No Barrier to Oral Anticoagulants

MedPage Today

Age alone shouldn't deter appropriate oral anticoagulant use in elderly atrial fibrillation patients, according to a review.

Many physicians shy away from prescribing oral anticoagulants to those 75 and older because of concerns about a higher risk of anticoagulant-related hemorrhage, noted Deirdre A. Lane, PhD, of the University of Birmingham Center for Cardiovascular Sciences in Birmingham, England, and colleagues.

But this age group actually stands to gain the most, with the highest expected net clinical benefit because of their high untreated risk for stroke, the group wrote online in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Stroke risk rises steeply with age to a lifetime probability of more than 20% by age 80 to 84, compounded by the roughly five times greater risk from atrial fibrillation alone.

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