Canadian Journal of Cardiology


Published:January 27, 2023DOI:


      Optimising guideline-directed anticoagulation in atrial fibrillation remains a perennial problem despite strong evidence for improved health outcomes with use of guideline-directed anticoagulation. Efforts to improve uptake have been hampered by barriers found at the level of the physician, patient, disease and choices of therapy. Clinician judgement is often clouded by factors such as therapeutic inertia, aversion to bleeding risk and implicit bias. For patients, negative pre-conceptions of therapy, impact of therapy on day-to-day life and the nocebo effect pose significant barriers. Both groups are impacted by poor education. Utility of a single pronged approach directed towards clinicians or patients have demonstrated variable success, with the highest impact appreciated in studies employing shared decision models. Further, there is emerging evidence for use of integrated models of care, which have shown improved efficacy in improving patient outcomes, as well as use of digital platforms such as mobile app-based interventions, which can be of aid to the clinician in improving patient adherence to anticoagulation with translated improved outcomes in clinical trials. Our narrative review article aims to investigate the physician and health system, patient, as well as drug therapy and disease barriers to uptake of guideline-directed anticoagulation in treatment of non-valvular atrial fibrillation.
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