Anticoagulation in the older adult: optimizing benefit and reducing risk.

Research paper by Darae D Ko, Elaine M EM Hylek

Indexed on: 04 Sep '14Published on: 04 Sep '14Published in: Seminars in thrombosis and hemostasis


The risk for both arterial and venous thrombosis increases with age. Despite the increasing burden of strokes related to atrial fibrillation (AF) and venous thromboembolism (VTE) among older adults, the use of anticoagulant therapy is limited in this population due to the parallel increase in risk of serious hemorrhage. Understanding the risks and their underlying mechanisms would help to mitigate adverse events and improve persistence with these life-saving therapies. The objectives of this review are to: (1) elucidate the age-related physiologic changes that render this high risk subgroup susceptible to hemorrhage, (2) identify mutable risk factors and hazards contributing to an increased bleeding risk in older individuals, and (3) discuss interventions to optimize anticoagulation therapy in this population.