Objective: This study aimed to investigate the prevalence and factors associated with oral anticoagulant undertreatment of atrial fibrillation (AF) among a cohort of rural patients with stroke outcomes and examine how undertreatment may influence a patient's one-year survival after stroke. Methods: This retrospective cohort study examined ischemic stroke patients with pre-stroke AF diagnosis from September 2003 to May 2019 and divided them into proper treatment and undertreatment group. Analysis included chi-square test, variance analysis, Kruskal-Wallis test, logistic regression, Kaplan-Meier estimator, and Cox proportional-hazards model. Results: Out of 1062 ischemic stroke patients with a pre-stroke AF diagnosis, 1015 patients had a CHA2DS2-VASc score ≥2, and 532 (52.4%) of those were undertreated. Median time from AF diagnosis to index stroke was significantly lower among undertreated patients (1.9 years vs. 3.6 years, p < 0.001). Other thromboembolism, excluding stroke, TIA, and myocardial infarction (OR 0.41, p < 0.001), the number of encounters per year (OR 0.90, p < 0.001), and the median time between AF diagnosis and stroke event (OR 0.86, p < 0.001) were negatively associated with undertreatment. Kaplan-Meier estimator showed no statistical difference in the one-year survival probability between groups (log-rank test, p = 0.29), while the Cox-Hazard model showed that age (HR 1.05, p < 0.001) and history of congestive heart failure (HR 1.88, p < 0.001) increased the risk of mortality. Conclusions: More than half of our rural stroke patients with a pre-index AF diagnosis were not on guideline-recommended treatment. The study highlights a large care gap and an opportunity to improve AF management.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology