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Race, ethnicity, sex, and socioeconomic disparities in anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation: A narrative review of contemporary literature.
Daly DJ, Essien UR, Del Carmen MG, Scirica B, Berman AN, Searl Como J, Wasfy JH. Race, ethnicity, sex, and socioeconomic disparities in anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation: A narrative review of contemporary literature. Journal of the National Medical Association. 2023 Jun 1; 115(3):290-297.
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most prevalent arrhythmia in the United States and is responsible for 1 in 7 ischemic strokes. While anticoagulation is effective at preventing strokes, prior work has highlighted significant disparities in anticoagulation prescribing. Furthermore, racial, ethnic, sex, and socioeconomic disparities in AF outcomes have been described. As such, we aimed to review recent data on disparities with respect to anticoagulation for AF published between January 2018 and February 2021. The search string consisted of 7 phrases that combined AF, anticoagulation, and disparities involving sex, race, ethnicity, income, socioeconomic status (SES), and access to care and identified 13 relevant articles. The aggregate data demonstrated that Black patients were less likely to be prescribed anticoagulation than patients of other racial/ethnic groups. Additionally, Black patients were more likely to be prescribed warfarin instead of direct oral anticoagulants (DOACs) despite evidence that DOACs are safer and better tolerated. Lower-income patients and patients with less education were also less likely to receive DOACs. Some studies found that women were less likely to be anticoagulated than men even when their estimated stroke risk was higher, although other studies did not show sex-based differences. Building upon prior work, our study demonstrates that racial and ethnic disparities have persisted in the management of AF. Additionally, we our work highlights that there are significant disparities in anticoagulation management for AF associated with sex, income, and education. More work is needed to identify mechanisms for these disparities and identify potential solutions to achieve pharmacoequity.