[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To compare survival and adverse outcome of patients with non-valvar atrial fibrillation (NVAF) treated with or without warfarin.
Record linkage method to identify patients with a previous hospital diagnosis of atrial fibrillation and to link these patients to international normalised ratio (INR) test results and mortality data.
Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales.
Mortality, specifically from ischaemic and thromboembolic events.
6108 patients were identified with NVAF, of whom 36.4% received warfarin. Mean survival in the warfarin and non-warfarin groups was 52.0 months and 38.2 months, respectively (p < 0.001), and 14.4 months (p < 0.001) after adjustment for confounding factors. Warfarin treated patients in the upper quartile of INR control had significantly longer survival (57.5 months) than did those in the lowest quartile of control (38.1 months, p < 0.001). The risk of stroke in the warfarin group when treated was lower than that in the non-warfarin group (relative rate (RR) 0.74, p < 0.001). The risk of death from ischaemic stroke was lower in the warfarin group (RR 0.43, p < 0.001). The risk of all ischaemic and embolic events in the warfarin group was lower when they were taking warfarin (RR 0.74, p < 0.001). The risk of bleeding in the warfarin group when treated was greater (RR 1.78, p = 0.001).
Patients with NVAF within the recommended target INR range of 2.0-3.0 survive longer and have reduced morbidity. Probably too few people are anticoagulated with warfarin in NVAF.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To evaluate how well patients with non-valvar atrial fibrillation (NVAF) were maintained within the recommended international normalised ratio (INR) target of 2.0-3.0 and to explore the relation between achieved INR control and clinical outcomes.
Record linkage study of routine activity records and INR measurements.
Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, South Wales, UK.
2223 patients with NVAF, no history of heart valve replacement, and with at least five INR measurements.
Mortality, ischaemic stroke, all thromboembolic events, bleeding events, hospitalisation, and patterns of INR monitoring.
Patients treated with warfarin were outside the INR target range 32.1% of the time, with 15.4% INR values > 3.0 and 16.7% INR values < 2.0. However, the quartile with worst control spent 71.6% of their time out of target range compared with only 16.3% out of range in the best controlled quartile. The median period between INR tests was 16 days. Time spent outside the target range decreased as the duration of INR monitoring increased, from 52% in the first three months of monitoring to 30% after two years. A multivariate logistic regression model showed that a 10% increase in time out of range was associated with an increased risk of mortality (odds ratio (OR) 1.29, p < 0.001) and of an ischaemic stroke (OR 1.10, p = 0.006) and other thromboembolic events (OR 1.12, p < 0.001). The rate of hospitalisation was higher when INR was outside the target range.
Suboptimal anticoagulation was associated with poor clinical outcomes, even in a well controlled population. However, good control was difficult to achieve and maintain. New measures are needed to improve maintenance anticoagulation in patients with NVAF.