Anticoagulant treatment in German family practices : screening results from a cluster randomized controlled trial

  • Background: Oral anticoagulation (OAC) with coumarins and new anticoagulants are highly effective in preventing thromboembolic complications. However, some studies indicate that over- and under-treatment with anticoagulants are fairly common. The aim of this paper is to assess the appropriateness of treatment in patients with a long-term indication for OAC, and to describe the corresponding characteristics of such patients on the basis of screening results from the cluster randomized PICANT trial. Methods: Randomly selected family practices in the federal state of Hesse, Germany, were visited by study team members. Eligible patients were screened using an anonymous patient list that was generated by the general practitioners? software according to predefined instructions. A documentation sheet was filled in for all screened patients. Eligible patients were classified into 3 categories (1: patients with a long-term indication for OAC and taking anticoagulants, 2: patients with a long-term indication for OAC but not taking anticoagulants, 3: patients without a long-term indication for OAC but taking an anticoagulant on a permanent basis). IBM SPSS Statistics 20 was used for descriptive statistical analysis. Results: We screened 2,036 randomly selected, potentially eligible patients from 52 family practices. 275 patients could not be assigned to one of the 3 categories and were therefore not considered for analysis. The final study sample comprised 1,761 screened patients, 1,641 of whom belonged to category 1, 78 to category 2, and 42 to category 3. INR values were available for 1,504 patients of whom 1,013 presented INR values within their therapeutic ranges. The majority of screened patients had very good compliance, as assessed by the general practitioner. New antithrombotic drugs were prescribed in 6.1% of cases. Conclusions: The screening results showed that a high proportion of patients were receiving appropriate anticoagulation therapy. The numbers of patients with a long-term indication for OAC therapy that were not receiving oral anticoagulants, and without a long-term indication that were receiving OAC, were considerably lower than expected. Most patients take coumarins, and the quality of OAC control is reasonably high.

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Author:Lisa-Rebekka Ulrich-MüssigGND, Karola MergenthalGND, Juliana Petersen, Ina Roehl, Sandra Rauck, Birgit Kemperdick, Sylvia Schulz-Rothe, Andrea BergholdORCiDGND, Andrea Siebenhofer-KroitzschORCiDGND
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):BMC family practice
Publisher:BioMed Central
Place of publication:London
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2014/11/24
Date of first Publication:2014/10/25
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2014/11/24
Tag:Cluster randomization; Family practice; Health services research; Oral anticoagulation
Issue:Art. 170
Page Number:6
First Page:1
Last Page:6
Copyright: © Ulrich et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2014. This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
Institutes:Medizin / Medizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0