Impact of social determinants of health on anticoagulant use among patients with atrial fibrillation: Systemic review and meta-analysis


Advocate Aurora Research Institute, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center


Background: A growing body of literature now exists examining associations between social determinants of health (SDOH) and adverse outcomes in patients with atrial fibrillation; however, little is available on anticoagulant prescriptions and the impact of SDOH.

Purpose: Evaluate the impact of SDOH on anticoagulant prescriptions in patients with atrial fibrillation.

Data sources: Medline and Embase databases up to January 2021.

Study selection: Noninterventional studies were included if they reported associations between at least 1 of 14 SDOH domains and anticoagulant prescription in patients with atrial fibrillation. Two investigators independently screened and collected data.

Data extraction: Two investigators independently screened and collected data.

Data synthesis: Meta-analyses using random-effect models evaluated associations between SDOH and receiving an anticoagulant prescription. We included 13 studies, 11 of which were included in meta-analyses that reported on the impact of 9 of the 14 SDOH included in the search. Pooled estimates indicate a 0.85 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.75, 0.97) lower odds of receiving anticoagulant prescriptions among Black compared to non-Black patients (reported in 6 studies); 0.42 (95% CI: 0.32, 0.55) lower odds of receiving anticoagulant prescriptions among patients with mental illness compared to those without mental illness (2 studies); and a 0.64 (95% CI: 0.42, 0.96) lower likelihood of receiving oral anticoagulant prescription among employed patients compared to unemployed patients (2 studies).

Limitations: SDOH lack consistent definitions and measures within the electronic health record.

Conclusion: The literature reports on only half of the SDOH domains we searched for, indicating that many SDOH are not routinely assessed. Second, social needs impact the decision to prescribe anticoagulants, confirming the need to screen for and address social needs in the clinical setting to support clinicians in providing guideline concordant care to their patients.

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