Physician specialty is associated with differences in warfarin use for atrial fibrillation

Can J Cardiol. 1998 Mar;14(3):365-8.


Objective: To determine whether physician specialty is associated with prescription of warfarin to elderly persons with atrial fibrillation.

Design: Cross-sectional survey.

Setting: One hundred and thirty-eight randomly selected general practitioners--all 58 internists and all 27 cardiologists in southern Alberta were surveyed by mail.

Intervention: Physicians identified their preferred drug for stroke prevention generally and in response to two hypothetical cases.

Main results: Response rates were 66% (general practitioners), 76% (internists) and 89% (cardiologists). Specialists (92%) were more likely than general practitioners (76%) to choose warfarin (P = 0.007). Findings were similar for questions related to case scenarios; however, the magnitude of differences between specialists and general practitioners was less pronounced. Specialists were more likely (77%) to prescribe warfarin for elderly females than were general practitioners (62%, P = 0.08). Similar proportions of specialists (77%) and general practitioners (67%) would prescribe warfarin to elderly males.

Conclusion: Physician specialty is associated with warfarin prescription for elderly persons with atrial fibrillation.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / drug therapy*
  • Canada
  • Cardiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Decision Making
  • Family Practice
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal Medicine
  • Male
  • Medicine*
  • Middle Aged
  • Specialization*
  • Warfarin / therapeutic use*


  • Anticoagulants
  • Warfarin