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Stability of High-Quality Warfarin Anticoagulation in a Community-Based Atrial Fibrillation Cohort: The Anticoagulation and Risk Factors in Atrial Fibrillation (ATRIA) Study

Warfarin reduces ischemic stroke risk in atrial fibrillation (AF) but increases bleeding risk. Novel anticoagulants challenge warfarin as stroke-preventive therapy for AF. They are available at fixed doses but are more costly. Warfarin anticoagulation at a time in therapeutic range (TTR) ≥70% is similarly as effective and safe as novel anticoagulants. It is unclear whether AF patients with TTR ≥70% will remain stably anticoagulated and avoid the need to switch to a novel anticoagulant. We assessed stability of warfarin anticoagulation in AF patients with an initial TTR ≥70%. Within the community-based Anticoagulation and Risk Factors in AF (ATRIA) cohort followed from 1996 to 2003, we identified 2841 new warfarin users who continued warfarin over 9 months. We excluded months 1 to 3 to achieve a stable dose. For the 987 patients with TTR ≥70% in an initial 6-month period (TTR1; months 4-9), we described the distribution of TTR2 (months 10-15) and assessed multivariable correlates of persistent TTR ≥70%. Of patients with TTR1 ≥70%, 57% persisted with TTR2 ≥70% and 16% deteriorated to TTR2 <50%. Only initial TTR1 ≥90% (adjusted odds ratio 1.47, 95% CI 1.07-2.01) independently predicted TTR2 ≥70%. Heart failure was moderately associated with marked deterioration (TTR2 <50%); adjusted odds ratio 1.45, 95% CI 1.00-2.10. Nearly 60% of AF patients with high-quality TTR1 on warfarin maintained TTR ≥70% over the next 6 months. A minority deteriorated to very poor TTR. Patient features did not strongly predict TTR in the second 6-month period. Our analyses support watchful waiting for AF patients with initial high-quality warfarin anticoagulation before considering alternative anticoagulants.

Authors: Dallalzadeh LO; Go AS; Chang Y; Borowsky LH; Fang MC; Singer DE

J Am Heart Assoc. 2016 Jul 22;5(7). Epub 2016-07-22.

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