We administered a survey to residents in multiple Canadian family medicine training programmes. Questions explored the experiences and attitudes towards risk stratification and choices of OAC when presented with standardized clinical scenarios. In each scenario, a novel oral anticoagulant (NOAC) would be the preferred treatment according to the contemporary Canadian and European guidelines.
A total of 247 residents participated in the survey. Most used the congestive heart failure, hypertension, age ≥ 75, diabetes mellitus, stroke or TIA (2 points) (81%) and congestive heart failure, hypertension, age ≥ 75 (2 points) or age 65-74 (1 point), diabetes mellitus, stroke or TIA, vascular disease including peripheral arterial disease, myocardial infarction, or aortic plaque, sex (female) (67%) risk stratification schemes while the preferred bleeding risk stratification scheme was hypertension, abnormal liver or renal function, stroke, bleeding, labile international normalized ratio, elderly (age ≥ 65), drugs or alcohol (84%). In the clinical scenarios, residents generally preferred warfarin in favour of NOACs, independent of training level. Residents ranked the risk of adverse events and the cost to the patient as their most and least important consideration when prescribing OAC, respectively. Therefore in patients with nonvalvular AF, Canadian family medicine residents prefer warfarin in comparison with NOACs despite the latest Canadian and European guideline recommendations. This knowledge gap may be enhanced by multiple factors, including a sometimes magnified fear of adverse events and a rapidly changing landscape in stroke prophylaxis.