Vol 51, No 5 (2017)

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Pharmacological stroke prevention in the elderly with atrial fibrillation in Poland – Results of PolSenior study

Beata Łabuz-Roszak1, Michał Skrzypek2, Agnieszka Machowska-Majchrzak3, Małgorzata Mossakowska4, Jerzy Chudek5, Andrzej Więcek6, Krystyna Pierzchała3, Beata Łącka-Gaździk7, Tomasz Grodzicki8
DOI: 10.1016/j.pjnns.2017.07.005
Neurol Neurochir Pol 2017;51(5):382-387.



Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most frequent clinically significant arrhythmia, especially common in the elderly. As it is known, AF is associated with increased risk of stroke. Little is known about pharmacological cardiovascular prevention in the elderly with AF in Poland.


The purpose of the study was to evaluate the frequency of pharmacological stroke prevention among the elderly with AF in Poland and its association with clinical characteristics and concomitant cardiovascular risk factors.

Patients and methods

The analysis included elderly (≥65 years) participants of the PolSenior study performed in years 2008–2012.


The study group consisted of 4979 people (mean age: 79.3±8.7 years). Among them, there were 875 patients (18.7%) with documented history of AF. Pharmacological prevention with the use of vitamin K antagonists (VKA) was applied by 117 (13.4%) of the elderly with AF, including 15 (1.7%) on dual therapy. Additionally, 386 (45.3%) subjects with AF were using oral antiplatelet therapy (OAPs), mostly aspirin. Acenocoumarol was much more often used than warfarin. New oral anticoagulant drugs (NOACs) were not used at all. Only personal income was associated with the use of VKA. No significant correlation was found for the age, sex, place of residence and level of education.


The study was unique to determine the frequency of pharmacological stroke prevention among elderly people with AF in Poland. It occurred that oral anticoagulant drugs were applied too rarely in this group of patients. Educational programs should be developed among general practitioners concerning current recommendations for patients with AF.

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Neurologia i Neurochirurgia Polska