Differences in knowledge among patients with atrial fibrillation receiving non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants and vitamin K antagonists

Małgorzata Konieczyńska, Ewa Sobieraj, Agata H Bryk, Maciej Dębski, Maciej Polak, Piotr Podolec, Barbara Małecka, Andrzej Pająk, Lien Desteghe, Hein Heidbuchel, Anetta Undas
Kardiologia Polska 2018, 76 (7): 1089-1096

BACKGROUND: Non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) are increasingly used for stroke prevention in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) worldwide. Few articles have compared current understanding of AF patients about the disease and anticoagulant therapy in relation to the medications used.

AIM: We sought to compare the knowledge of AF and anticoagulation between AF patients treated with NOACs and those on vitamin K antagonists (VKAs).

METHODS: We used the Jessa AF Knowledge Questionnaire (JAKQ), developed and validated in Belgium. Patients were re-cruited at a tertiary centre in Kraków, Poland.

RESULTS: A total of 479 AF patients completed the JAKQ. Patients on NOACs (n = 276, 57.6%) compared with those on VKAs (n = 175, 36.5%) did not differ regarding demographic and clinical variables. The mean score of the JAKQ was very similar in the NOAC and VKA group (60.7 ± 17.0% vs. 61.6 ± 17.1%; p = 0.4, respectively). The differences in the proportion of correct responses referred to three questions. Consequences of AF, such as blood clots and cerebral infarction, were more obvious for patients on NOACs compared with those on VKAs (81.5% vs. 70.9%; p = 0.01). The patients on NOACs (78.7% vs. 67.6%; p = 0.009) more frequently considered consulting a physician for advice concerning anticoagulant treatment before surgery, while fewer patients on NOACs were aware of the need to take their medication even if they did not feel AF (76.1% vs. 89.7%; p = 0.0004). Only 25.9% of the VKA patients and 49.3% of the NOAC users knew what to do if they missed a dose of the anticoagulant.

CONCLUSIONS: The knowledge of arrhythmia and anticoagulation is better regarding the safety issues among subjects on NOACs compared with those on VKAs. Irrespective of the type of oral anticoagulation therapy, education of AF patients should be improved.


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