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BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Expert oral anticoagulation management is the key to good outcomes and is performed variably in different health care systems throughout the world. We set out to assess the quality of anticoagulation management in five countries in patients receiving vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) for stroke prophylaxis in chronic non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF), and to compare the anticoagulation management practices in these countries. METHODS AND RESULTS: This was a retrospective, multi-centre cohort study in the United States, Canada, France, Italy, and Spain. About 1,511 patients were randomly recruited from representative practices (routine medical care (RMC) in the US, Canada, and France; anticoagulation clinics in Italy and Spain) and data pertaining to their oral anticoagulation care were abstracted from their medical records. The predominant anticoagulant in use was warfarin in the US, Canada, and Italy; acenocoumarol in Spain; and fluindione in France. Documentation of care was poor in the US, Canada, and France, countries where RMC was studied. Percent INRs or time-in-therapeutic range was greater in the two anticoagulation clinic samples compared with the RMC samples. CONCLUSION: Oral anticoagulation care varies considerably from country to country. Findings suggest that anticoagulation clinic care (ACC) may provide better outcomes as assessed by international normalized ratio (INR) time-in-range. Physicians tend to under treat more than over treat. Finally, documentation of care is often inadequate. Condensed Abstract Oral anticoagulation management (routine medical care or anticoagulation clinic care) was retrospectively assessed in 5 countries using a uniform, structured assessment tool. Major management differences were detected, especially between anticoagulation clinic care and routine care. Documentation was often a problem in the latter setting. Less time in therapeutic INR range was noted in routine medical care. Findings suggest that anticoagulation clinic care may provide better outcomes as assessed by international normalized ratio (INR) time-in-range. Physicians tend to under treat more than over treat. Finally, documentation of care is often inadequate.

Original publication

DOI

10.1007/s11239-006-9022-7

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Thromb Thrombolysis

Publication Date

04/2007

Volume

23

Pages

83 - 91

Keywords

Acenocoumarol, Administration, Oral, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Anticoagulants, Atrial Fibrillation, Canada, Cohort Studies, Drug Monitoring, Female, France, Humans, International Normalized Ratio, Italy, Male, Middle Aged, Phenindione, Practice Patterns, Physicians', Quality of Health Care, Retrospective Studies, Spain, Stroke, Treatment Outcome, United States, Warfarin