Reversal of blood thinning treatment knowledge important

Results from a survey in five countries reinforce the importance of patient-physician discussion around the reversal of blood thinning (anticoagulant) treatments in potential emergency situations.

 

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac rhythm disorder worldwide and increases the risk of stroke five-fold. Blood thinning treatments, known as anticoagulants, reduce the blood’s ability to form clots and reduce the risk of stroke.

 

However, in emergency situations, such as when rapid initiation of surgery is required, or in the case of a life-threatening bleed, quick reversal of anticoagulation may be required.

 

902 atrial fibrillation patients in the survey were very aware of potential complications related to their treatment in the event of an emergency (89%). However, more than half (51%) could not recall having a discussion with their doctor about stopping their blood thinning medication in an emergency. Yet 78% would prefer such information about reversibility to come directly from their treating physician compared to other possible sources.

 

“First of all, it is important that AF patients understand the importance of anticoagulation and its role in preventing strokes.

 

“However, it is clear from these survey results that knowing more about how anticoagulant medication could be stopped in the event of an emergency is also very important to patients. This highlights the need for physicians to address this topic in ongoing discussions with their AF patients,” said Professor Harald Darius, head of the department of cardiology, angiology, nephrology and intensive-care medicine at the Vivantes Neukoelln Medical Center, Berlin in Germany.

 

Highlights from the survey among 902 AF patients:

  • 64% of patients surveyed said it would give them ‘peace of mind, allowing them to worry less about their health’ if they knew that the effects of their blood thinning medication could be reversed in case of an emergency.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) indicated they would feel ‘confident’ if they knew that there was a medication available that could stop the blood thinning effects of their anticoagulant treatment in case of an emergency.
  • 31% said it would allow them to live a more active lifestyle.

 

“It is essential that AF patients continue their prescribed anticoagulant treatment as this reduces the risk of an AF-related stroke. If they have concerns about the implications of their treatment in rare emergency situations like an accident they should openly discuss their questions with their treating physician,” said Waheed Jamal, MD, Corporate Vice President & Head of Cardiometabolic Medicine at Boehringer Ingelheim.

 

28 June 2018.