Warfarin use and mortality, stroke, and bleeding outcomes in a cohort of elderly patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation

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Aims: To determine exposure to warfarin and the associated outcomes in a population of older patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF). Methods: Cohort study of patients aged 65-89 years admitted to hospital July 2003-December 2008 with newly-diagnosed or pre-existing AF. Outcomes at three years among one-year survivors post-index admission (landmark date) were all-cause mortality, stroke/systemic thromboembolism (stroke/TE) and bleeding. Multivariate Cox models were used to identify factors associated with each outcome. Results: AF was the principal diagnosis for 27.5% of 17,336 index AF admissions. Of 14,634 (84.4%) patients alive at one-year 1,384 (9.5%) died in the following year. Vascular disease (42%) was the most frequent cause of death. Warfarin use, prior to the index admission and/or the 1-year landmark, did not exceed 40%. Compared to non-exposure or discontinuation at the index admission, initiation or persistence with warfarin prior to the landmark date was associated with reduced risk for all-cause mortality, a statistically non-significant reduction in risk for stroke/TE, and an increased risk for bleeding. Higher CHA2DS2-VASc scores were associated with increased risk for each outcome. Conclusions: In a population-based cohort of hospitalised NVAF patients, the initiation and persistent use of warfarin was associated with lower all-cause mortality risk to three years, although reduction in risk for stroke/TE did not reach statistical significance. The apparent under-use of warfarin in this older, high-risk cohort reinforces the opportunity for further reduction in stroke/TE with the uptake of non-vitamin K oral anti-coagulants (NOACs) among those not prescribed, or not persistent with, warfarin.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019


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