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Atrial fibrillation is the most common sustained heart rhythm in the United States with estimated prevalence rates of 8.8/100 (Wolf, Abbott, & Kannel, 1991). The largest risk for patients with atrial fibrillation is that of ischemic stroke from embolization of an atrial clot, thus the long standing treatment for this arrhythmia is aggressive anticoagulation. For decades this has been accomplished with the use of warfarin, however, the increased risk of hemorrhage combined with the inconvenience of weekly blood testing has prompted the development of potentially safer and more effective alternatives. A systematic review of the literature identified studies that examined the safety and efficacy of direct thrombin and factor Xa inhibitors compared with traditional warfarin therapy. It was found that the new anticoagulants reduce the incidence of stroke and thromboembolism without increasing the risk of major hemorrhage when compared to warfarin. This provides health care providers another option to safely anticoagulate patients diagnosed with non-valvular atrial fibrillation without the burden of PT/INR monitoring.


Physician Assistant Studies

Degree Name

Master of Physician Assistant Studies (MPAS)

First Advisor

Susan Kuntz

Publication Date



Anticoagulants -- therapeutic use; Atrial Fibrillation -- therapy; Factor Xa Inhibitors -- therapeutic use; Hemorrhage -- chemically induced; Warfarin -- therapeutic use


Cardiovascular Diseases

New Age Anticoagulants: A Safer and More Effective Alternative to Warfarin?