An ORBIT-AF study had discovered that primary care physicians, cardiologists and electrophysiologists (heart rhythm specialists) each chose a different treatment for managing atrial fibrillation (AF) for their patients.

A researcher at DCRI, Jonathan P. Piccini, MD, an electrophysiologist and assistant professor of medicine at Duke University, talked about the recent findings from ORBIT-AF (Outcomes Registry for Better Informed Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation) on November 15 during a session at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Orlando, Florida. ORBIT-AF consists of an outpatient registry of thousands of AF patients.

The ORBIT-AF research is different from clinical trials in that it didn’t test specific drug treatments; rather, the research looked at data from registries to see how patients are already being treated around the world. Researchers collected data on medications, procedures, diagnoses and outcomes. To date there have been countless AF clinical trials testing different AF medications. The ARISTOTLE tested axiban, ROCKET-AF tested rivaroxaban and the PALLAS tested Multaq. The Multaq study was halted after the trial researchers discovered that the drug was killing patients by worsening their heart conditions and causing liver failure.

For the ORBIT-AF study, researchers divided the patients into three groups that went in accordance to who their primary AF healthcare providers were: “1873 were seeing a primary care physician (family practice or internal medicine); 6235 were seeing a cardiologist; and 1481 were seeing an electrophysiologist. Investigators then compared the medical conditions of each group with the management of their AF, according to their provider’s specialty.”

The research uncovered that patients that relied on a heart rhythm specialist were generally younger and less likely to be of any specific ethnic group. They also had less previous medical conditions apart from the AF. Researchers also determined that while most of the providers used Warfarin to treat the AF, cardiologists were more likely to suggest newer anticoagulant drugs or combination antithrombotic (clot-busting) regimens.

Piccini said, “These findings have implications on access to new therapies. Are patients who see one type of provider more or less likely to have the opportunity to receive new treatments compared with patients who see another type of provider? The answer to that question has implications on both access to healthcare and post-marketing safety and surveillance.”

If it is true that cardiologists are more likely to prescribe newer medications, Multaq will continue to stay on the market despite the drug’s link to liver failure and heart disease. If you or a loved one have developed liver failure or worsening heart condition after taking Multaq, contact attorney Greg Jones today for a free consultation. I may be able to help you recover money for your injuries.