Impact of Fall Risk and Direct Oral Anticoagulant Treatment on Quality-Adjusted Life-Years in Older Adults with Atrial Fibrillation: A Markov Decision Analysis. Academic Article uri icon


  • BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The decision to initiate anticoagulation in older adults with atrial fibrillation is complicated by the benefit of ischemic stroke prevention vs the risk of falls resulting in major bleeds. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of different treatments including direct oral anticoagulants on quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs) in patients aged 75 years and older with atrial fibrillation in the context of falls. METHODS: A Markov decision process was constructed for older patients with atrial fibrillation taking no anti-thrombotic, aspirin, warfarin, rivaroxaban, and apixaban. Input probabilities for clinical events were estimated from the available literature. One-way and two-way sensitivity analyses were performed by measuring the impact of varying input probabilities of clinical events on QALY outcomes. RESULTS: The base-case scenario estimated that older adults treated with no anti-thrombotic, aspirin, warfarin, rivaroxaban, and apixaban had QALYs of 8.03, 8.69, 10.38, 11.02, and 11.56, respectively. The sensitivity analysis estimated that an older adult would need to fall over 45 (rivaroxaban) and 458 (apixaban) times per year for the QALY of a direct oral anticoagulant to be lower than that of aspirin. CONCLUSIONS: Older adults with atrial fibrillation benefit from stroke protection of anticoagulants, especially direct oral anticoagulants, even if they are at high risk of falls. Clinicians should not consider fall risk as a deciding factor for withholding anticoagulation in this population of patients.

published proceedings

  • Drugs Aging

altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Wei, W., Rasu, R. S., Hernndez-Muoz, J. J., Flores, R. J., Rianon, N. J., Hernndez-Vizcarrondo, G. A., & Brown, A. T.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Wei, Wenfei||Rasu, Rafia S||Hernández-Muñoz, José J||Flores, Renee J||Rianon, Nahid J||Hernández-Vizcarrondo, Genesis A||Brown, Adam T

publication date

  • January 2021