Management of antithrombotic therapy after gastrointestinal bleeding: A mixed methods study of health‐care providers
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Essentials The factors influencing anticoagulation management after gastrointestinal bleeding are unclear. Focus groups and a discrete choice experiments survey of health-care providers were conducted. Re-bleeding risk and thrombosis risk were the most important factors influencing decision making. Preference variability exists with a minority most sensitive to the anticoagulation indication. ABSTRACT: Background Oral anticoagulants (OACs) are permanently discontinued in up to 50% of patients after gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding despite evidence of benefit to restarting. Objectives We aimed to identify factors influencing health-care provider decision making regarding resuming OAC after GI bleeding and to identify preference groups. Patients/Methods We conducted focus group discussions (FGDs) with health-care providers. Themes identified and ranked through a dot voting exercise became the attributes for a discrete choice experiment survey of health-care providers developed using Sawtooth (Sawtooth Software, Provo, UT, USA). Hierarchical Bayes analysis was used to estimate preference coefficients (utilities) for each attribute. Preference groups were identified using latent class analysis. Results We conducted four FGDs involving 29 participants. The five most important factors identified in the FGDs were included in the survey. There were 250 survey respondents (mean age 45 years, 53% male). The most important factor was re-bleeding risk followed by thrombosis risk, index bleed severity, indication for OAC, and patient characteristics. Two preference groups were identified, a majority group (87% of respondents) placed the highest utility on re-bleeding risk followed by thrombosis risk, while a minority group (13% of respondents) placed the highest utility on OAC indication. Conclusions Overall, the most important factor influencing provider decision making was re-bleeding risk followed closely by thrombosis risk, although the indication for OAC was most important for a minority of respondents. This highlights variability among providers in an area lacking high-quality data to guide practice. Further research is needed to determine absolute rates of outcomes and patient values and preferences.