BioScience Trends. 2022;16(5):317-329. (DOI: 10.5582/bst.2022.01278)

Contemporary oral anticoagulant therapy of patients with atrial fibrillation in China: Status, obstacles, and strategies for improvement

Shang L, Zhang Y, Zhao Y, Tang B, Hou Y


Atrial fibrillation (AF) and subsequent stroke and death have become major public health problems in China. Oral anticoagulant (OAC) forms the backbone of prevention of AF-related stroke. However, the quality of OAC use in AF patients in China is not clear. The focus of this narrative review is to summarize the current status of OAC therapy in China and compare it with the studies conducted internationally. In general, most data of OAC use in China were reported around 10-50%, with an increasing proportion of high-risk patients receiving OACs, however, still much lower than those in other countries and regions. Moreover, the phenomenon of inappropriate OAC prescribing and poor long-term persistence and adherence with OAC therapy in AF patients in China have also been noted. The 1-year adherence and persistence of OACs are as low as 50%. Multiple factors from the physicians, patients, and OAC drugs contribute to these phenomena. The management of OACs in AF patients in China needs to be further improved by the joint efforts of healthcare administration (policy makers) and health systems including medical associations, hospitals, and physicians.

KEYWORDS: atrial fibrillation, oral anticoagulation, stroke, temporal trends, China.

Full Text: