White and Hispanic patients are receiving novel and powerful oral anticoagulants when compared to black patients with atrial fibrillation, according to a new study published in JAMA Cardiology.
First author Utibe R. Essien, M.D., M.P.H., assistant professor in the University of Pittsburgh Division of General Internal Medicine, used the Outcomes Registry for Better Informed Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation II registry (ORBIT-AF II) to source patient data for the study.
He conducted the research during his fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. Registry data for 11,100 white patients, 646 black patients and 671 Hispanic patients with atrial fibrillation collected from February 2013 through June 2016 was included in the analysis.
"For patients with atrial fibrillation, long-term oral anticoagulant use can reduce their risk of stroke. Even after our analysis adjusted for socioeconomic factors, black patients were still less likely to receive these types of drugs," said Essien.
"Blacks with atrial fibrillation are already at a higher risk of complications, so improving health literacy and reducing disparities related to medication use could help improve their overall quality of care and reduce complications."
Many factors, including limited access to specialists, out-of-pocket costs, medication adherence and implicit bias, have been suggested as possible reasons for the disparities in care for patients with atrial fibrillation, but further research is needed to address and correct these issues.