Pharmacist-led atrial fibrillation reviews reduce stroke risk for patients

A review scheme led by a team of pharmacists prevented an estimated 886 strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation.

CT scan of brain showing a stroke

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with a five-fold increased risk of stroke, but this risk can be reduced with oral anticoagulant therapy.

A review scheme for patients with AF was implemented at 1,028 GP practices, in which a team of clinical pharmacists from a third-party provider systematically assessed 135,203 patients’ stroke risk and current AF treatment in association with their GP.

The review resulted in 16,705 previously untreated patients receiving oral anticoagulant therapy. Also, a further 11,517 patients had their suboptimal treatment type or dosage adjusted after taking part in the review.

The researchers, who presented their results at the Royal College of GPs annual conference[1]
in Harrogate, Yorkshire, on 7 October 2016, conclude that the review has been successful in increasing patient safety and reducing risk, estimating that it has so far prevented 886 strokes and saved £22m in associated direct costs.


[1] Deaney C, Hughes D, Wearne J et al. Preventing atrial fibrillation-related strokes through clinical assessment in primary care. Presented at: RCGP annual conference; 6–8 October 2016; Harrogate, Yorkshire.

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, November 2016, Vol 8, No 11;8(11):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201880

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