Objective: Prior studies have demonstrated that anticoagulation underutilisation for atrial fibrillation (AF) and elevated stroke risk is common. However, there is little data on factors associated with appropriate anticoagulation, particularly in Indigenous Australians who face a disproportionate burden of AF and stroke. We thus sought to determine factors associated with anticoagulation use in Australians with AF. Design: Administrative, clinical, prescriptive and laboratory data were linked and aggregated over a 12-year period. Setting: Single tertiary teaching hospital. Participants: 19,305 (98%) and 308 (2%) consecutive non-Indigenous and Indigenous Australians with AF identified from administrative databases. Main outcome measures: Associations of anticoagulation use according to ethnicity. Results: Significant independent predictors of anticoagulation use included hypertension (odds ratio [OR] 1.25, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.17–1.34; p<0.001), diabetes (OR 1.14, 95% CI 1.05-1.24; p=0.002), heart failure (OR 1.54 95% CI 1.43–1.66; p<0.001) and prior stroke or transient ischaemic attack (OR 2.07, 95% CI 1.84–2.33; p<0.001). In contrast, increasing age (OR 0.99, 95% CI 0.98–0.99; p<0.001), female gender (OR 0.88, 95% CI 0.82–0.93; p<0.001), and vascular disease (OR 0.72, 95% CI 0.64–0.80; p<0.001) were significant predictors of no anticoagulation. Hypertension was associated with less anticoagulation use in Indigenous compared to non-Indigenous Australians (p=0.02). Conclusions: Anticoagulation for AF was suboptimal in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Older age, female gender, and comorbid vascular disease were found to be negatively associated with anticoagulation. Importantly, hypertension may also be under-recognised as a stroke risk factor in Indigenous Australians. Future efforts to encourage anticoagulation use in accordance with guideline recommendations is likely to reduce the burden of AF-related stroke in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations.
- Atrial fibrillation