There are over 385,000 cases of atrial fibrillation (AF) in the Netherlands, with over 45,000 new cases each year. Among other things, AF patients are at high risk of stroke. Patients are often prescribed oral anticoagulation, such as vitamin K antagonists (VKA), to mitigate these risks. A recently introduced class of oral anticoagulants, non-vitamin K antagonists (NOAC), is quickly gaining currency in global clinical practice. This study provides insight into the changes these new drugs will bring about in Dutch clinical practice. GARFIELD-AF is a large-scale observational AF patient registry initiated in 2009 to track the evolution of global anticoagulation practice, and to study the impact of NOAC therapy in AF in particular. The registry includes a wide array of baseline characteristics and has a particular focus on: (1) bleeding and thromboembolic events; (2) international normalised ratio fluctuations; and (3) therapy compliance and persistence patterns. The results in this paper provide the baseline characteristics of the first cohorts of Dutch participants in this registry and discuss some of the consequences of the changes in anticoagulation practice. Although VKA therapy remains overwhelmingly favoured by Dutch practitioners, NOACs are clearly gaining in popularity. Between 2011 and 2014, NOACs constituted an increasingly large proportion of prescriptions for oral anticoagulants. The insights provided by the GARFIELD-AF registry can be used by healthcare systems to inform better budgetary strategies, by practitioners to better tailor treatment pathways to patients, and finally to promote awareness of the various available treatment options and their associated risks and benefits for patients.
- Atrial fibrillation