Atrial fibrillation (AFib), the most common arrhythmia, affects more than 2.5 million Americans and is responsible for 15-20 percent of all strokes. Anticoagulants, also known as "blood thinners," lower the chance of having a stroke by preventing blood from clotting. Failure to adhere to clinical practice guideline recommendations for AFib results in preventable strokes.

The American College of Cardiology (ACC) launched the Anticoagulation Initiative, a comprehensive quality effort, to help facilitate a greater understanding of AFib treatments and practice patterns, particularly given an increasing number of new anticoagulant treatment options entering the marketplace. The Anticoagulation Initiative is a multidisciplinary effort that addresses gaps in knowledge in order to develop processes and tools aimed at meeting guideline-recommended standards and improving quality of anticoagulation care.

This initiative serves as an umbrella for the growing number of ACC tools targeted for use by cardiovascular professionals and their patients to close the long-standing gap in anticoagulation use. Current resources and activities include:

Anticoagulation Consortium Roundtable: The ACC held an interactive roundtable meeting in September 2013 to bring together experts from a wide range of disciplines representing nearly 30 different medical specialty societies, organizations and other stakeholders. The goal of the meeting was to discuss key issues in anticoagulation treatment and begin to address the gaps in care. Roundtable participants confirmed that there is a need for another meeting in September 2014 to continue this multidisciplinary interactive discussion in order to move anticoagulation care forward.

Anticoagulation Management Clinical Community: An online community dedicated to anticoagulation management that features relevant news articles, case challenges, hot topics, basics of anticoagulation, interactive discussions and clinical resources. The objective of this community is to provide a centralized site for clinicians to find the latest clinical information and perspectives related to anticoagulation.

AnticoagEvaluator Mobile App: An easy and fast way to assess stroke and bleeding risk and the benefits and risks of antithrombotic therapy in patients with chronic AFib. Available on iPad, iPhone, Android phone and Android tablet.

Atrial Fibrillation Clinical Toolkit: A toolkit to help cardiovascular professionals treat AFib patients based on the most recent evidence and best practices.

Anticoagulation Shared Decision Making Tool: An interactive tool that helps physicians and patients make the best decision regarding anticoagulation therapy for individual patients with AFib. (Coming in 2014)

The Anticoagulation Initiative is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim and Janssen Pharmaceuticals