Letters To The Editor

In reply: Anticoagulation for atrial fibrillation

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In Reply: I appreciate Dr. Henning’s letter in response to my editorial. 1 Indeed, Dr. Eckman’s Atrial Fibrillation Decision Support Tool (AFDST) is useful for determining quality-adjusted life expectancy on or off anticoagulation, and could possibly help with shared decision-making in regard to anticoagulation. 2–4

However, the AFDST does not incorporate personal preferences regarding anticoagulant or medication use in general. Many older adults are on too many medications (ie, polypharmacy) and wish to reduce their overall pill count.

A number of potential barriers to shared decision-making regarding medication use have been identified, including poor physician communication skills, the growing number of available medications, multiple prescribers for the same patient, lack of trust in the prescribing physician, and patients feeling that their preferences are not valued or important. 5 Until communication and acceptance between prescribers and patients regarding possible medication choices improves, shared decision-making for medication use in general and anticoagulant use in particular will be an unfulfilled ideal.

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