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Deaths from cardiovascular disease involving anticoagulants: a systematic synthesis of coroners' case reports

By Ali Ains, Carl Heneghan, Jeffrey K Aronson, Nicholas J DeVito, Georgia C Richards

Posted 30 Apr 2021
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2021.04.28.21256272

Background: The global burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) is forecast to increase, and anticoagulants will remain important medicines for its management. Coroners' Prevention of Future Death reports (PFDs) provide valuable insights that may enable safer and more effective use of these agents. Aim: To identify CVD-related PFDs involving anticoagulants. Design and Setting: Retrospective observational study of coronial case reports in England and Wales between 2013 and 2019. Method: We screened 3037 PFDs for eligibility and included PFDs where CVD and an anticoagulant caused or contributed to the death. We descriptively analysed included cases and used content analysis to assess concerns raised by coroners and who responded to them. Results: We identified 113 cardiovascular disease-related PFDs involving anticoagulants. Warfarin (36%), enoxaparin (11%), and rivaroxaban (11%) were the most common anticoagulants reported. Concerns most frequently raised by coroners included poor systems (31%), poor communication (25%), and failures to keep accurate medical records (25%). These concerns were most often directed to NHS trusts (29%), hospitals (10%), and general practices (8%). Nearly two-thirds (60%) of PFDs had not received responses from such organisations, which are mandatory under regulation 28 of the Coroners' (Investigations) Regulations 2013. We created a publicly available tool, https://preventabledeathstracker.net/, which displays coroners' reports in England and Wales to streamline access and identify important lessons to prevent future deaths. Conclusion: National organisations, healthcare professionals, and prescribers should take actions to address the concerns of coroners' in PFDs to improve the safe use of anticoagulants in patients with cardiovascular disease.

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