Open Access Open Badges Research article

Oral anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs used in prevention of cardiovascular events in elderly people in Poland

Beata Labuz-Roszak1*, Krystyna Pierzchala1, Michal Skrzypek2, Marta Swiech34 and Agnieszka Machowska-Majchrzak1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurology, Medical University of Silesia, 3-go Maja 13/15, Zabrze, 41-800, Poland

2 Department of Biostatistics, Faculty of Public Health, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland

3 International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Warsaw, Poland

4 Laboratory of Genomic Medicine, Department of General, Transplant and Liver Surgery, Medical University of Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2012, 12:98  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-12-98

Published: 31 October 2012



In Poland, the prevalence of cardiovascular diseases is increasing. This might be associated with the constantly growing proportion of elderly people and inappropriate cardiovascular prevention. This study aimed to evaluate the frequency of use of oral antiplatelet (OAP) and oral anticoagulant (OAC) drugs among older people in Poland and to assess their association with cardiovascular risk factors.


The study was based on data collected during the implementation of a multicentre, publicly funded research project called PolSenior.


The study group consisted of 4,979 people with the average age of 79.35 ± 8.69 years. Among them, 1,787 people (35.9%) used at least one drug in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. OAPs were used regularly by 1,648 (33.1%) elderly people and OACs were used by 165 elderly people (3.3%). Acetylsalicylic acid was used by 32.2% of elderly people. Use of drugs significantly depended on age (p < 0.01), sex (p < 0.01), place of residence (p < 0.001), level of education (p < 0.0001) and personal income (p < 0.0001). Among all the respondents treated with OAPs, therapy was applied as secondary cardiovascular prevention in 717 respondents (43.5%), and as primary prevention in 705 respondents (42.8%). Among the respondents treated with OACs, 117 (71%) elderly people had a history of atrial fibrillation. Secondary cardiovascular prevention should be considered in a further 482 respondents (15.1% of untreated elderly people), and primary cardiovascular prevention in 1,447 respondents (45.3%).


Our study is the first to determine the frequency of use of OAP and OAC drugs among elderly people in Poland in relation to cardiovascular risk factors. The most commonly used drug for cardiovascular prevention is acetylsalicylic acid, but it appears that it is used too rarely in high-risk patients. Educational programs should be developed among general practitioners concerning current recommendations for pharmacological cardiovascular prevention.

Epidemiology; Elderly; Public health; Preventive medicine; Oral anticoagulant drugs; Antiplatelet drugs; Acetylsalicylic acid