Korean Circ J.  2020 Mar;50(3):267-277. 10.4070/kcj.2019.0207.

Social Inequalities of Oral Anticoagulation after the Introduction of Non-Vitamin K Antagonists in Patients with Atrial Fibrillation

  • 1Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. cby6908@yuhs.ac
  • 2Department of Cardiology, CHA Bundang Medical Center, CHA University, Seongnam, Korea.
  • 3Department of Computer Science and Statistics, Daegu University, Gyeongsan, Korea.
  • 4Liverpool Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Liverpool and Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital, Liverpool, United Kingdom. g.y.h.lip@bham.ac.uk


Nationwide social inequalities of oral anticoagulation (OAC) usage after the introduction of non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) have not been well identified in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). This study assessed overall rate and social inequalities of OAC usage after the introduction of NOAC in Korea.
Between January 2002 and December 2016, we identified 888,540 patients with AF in the Korea National Health Insurance system database. The change of OAC rate in different medical systems after the introduction of NOAC were evaluated.
In all population, overall OAC use increased from 13.2% to 23.4% (p for trend <0.001), and NOAC use increased from 0% to 14.6% (p for trend <0.001). Compared with pre-reimbursement (0.48%), the annual increase of OAC use was significantly higher after partial (1.16%, p<0.001), and full reimbursement of OAC (3.72%, p<0.001). Full reimbursement of NOAC (adjusted odds ratio, 2.10; 95% confidence interval, 2.04–2.15) was independently associated with higher OAC use. However, the difference of overall OAC usage between tertiary referral hospitals and nursing or public health centers increased from 17.9% in 2010 to 36.8% in 2016. Moreover, usage rate of NOAC was significantly different among different medical systems from 37.2% at the tertiary referral hospital and 5.5% at nursing or public health centers.
Introduction of NOACs in routine practice for stroke prevention in AF was associated with improved rates of overall OAC use. However, significant practice-level variations in OAC and NOAC use remain producing social inequalities of OAC despite full reimbursement.


Atrial fibrillation; Insurance; Anticoagulation; NOAC
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