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Project #36:
Impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation.

  • Type: Audit
  • Topic areas: Other/indirect impacts of COVID on health/healthcare

Atrial fibrillation is a heart condition characterised by an irregular heartbeat. Patients with atrial fibrillation have an increased risk of stroke and NICE recommends they are treated with drugs that reduce that risk of stroke (blood thinners or anticoagulants). Warfarin used to be the drug of choice but new anticoagulants that are safer and more convenient to take have been preferred for the past years. This is because warfarin requires adjusting the dose on a regular basis based on blood tests, which are a burden for patients and doctors. For safety reasons, during the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors were encouraged to switch patients from warfarin to the new anticoagulants. However, it is uncertain how many patients were actually switched to the new anticoagulants over time and which proportion of patients are currently prescribed the new anticoagulants as per NICE guidelines. Therefore, this study aims to assess the impact of the pandemic on compliance with NICE guidelines regarding anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation.