Guideline-recommended anticoagulation is frequently omitted in high-risk patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) for reasons not fully understood, which may result in suboptimal care. A nationally representative, expert group of physicians (cardiology, neurology, and general medicine), and clinical pharmacists participated in a consensus-seeking, modified Delphi method to identify key clinical decision-making factors driving anticoagulant prescribing in real-world AF patients. Representing >2,500 anticoagulation-related patient encounters per month, 27 of 30 participants completed the study (90% overall response rate). In Round-1, experts rated their level of agreement with factors and suggested modifications or additional factors. Of 66 factors entering Round-1, 21 met and 4 partially met consensus, 41 did not meet consensus, and 7 were newly suggested. Of 32 factors advanced for scoring in Round-2, 16 met consensus criteria. In Round-3, experts were given the option to rescue up to 2 of the 16 nonconsensus factors from Round-2. Including a concomitant need for dual antiplatelet therapy, no factor was successfully rescued into consensus. The most important factors related to risk of infarction rather than bleeding risk or other patient-specific considerations. Among factors not independently addressed in current guidelines, these included baseline hematologic indicators of potential bleeding risk, previous bleeding episodes by specific type, other risk factors for bleeding, and adherence. In conclusion, when determining anticoagulation strategies in AF, there is a need for further research on the clinical implications of these emerging factors as well as the reasons behind divergent opinions toward nonconsensus factors.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: One-time scholarship for presentation of preliminary research methodology provided by the American College of Clinical Pharmacy Cardiology Practice Research Network, MERIT16 (Lenexa, KS, United States).
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.