Anticoagulant (fluindione)-aspirin combination in patients with high-risk atrial fibrillation. A randomized trial (Fluindione, Fibrillation Auriculaire, Aspirin et Contraste Spontané; FFAACS)

P Lechat, H Lardoux, A Mallet, P Sanchez, G Derumeaux, T Lecompte, L Maillard, J L Mas, F Mentre, F Pousset, L Lacomblez, G Pisica, S Solbes-Latourette, P Raynaud, P Chaumet-Riffaud
Cerebrovascular Diseases 2001, 12 (3): 245-52

BACKGROUND: A combination of low-dose aspirin with anticoagulants may provide better protection against thromboembolic events compared to anticoagulants alone in high-risk patients with atrial fibrillation.

OBJECTIVE: Evaluation of the preventive efficacy against nonfatal thromboembolic events and vascular deaths of the combination of the oral anticoagulant fluindione and aspirin (100 mg) in patients with high-risk atrial fibrillation.

METHODS: A multicenter, placebo-controlled, double-blind, randomized trial was conducted at 49 investigating centers in France. Atrial fibrillation patients with a previous thromboembolic event or older than 65 years and with either a history of hypertension, a recent episode of heart failure or decreased left ventricular function were included in the study. Patients were treated with fluindione plus placebo (i.e. anticoagulant alone) or fluindione plus aspirin (i.e. combination therapy), with an international normalized ratio target of between 2 and 2.6. The combined primary endpoint was stroke (ischemic or hemorrhagic), myocardial infarction, systemic arterial emboli or vascular death. The secondary endpoint was the incidence of hemorrhagic complications.

RESULTS: The 157 participants (average age 74 years; 52% women; 42% with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation) were followed for an average of 0.84 years. Three nonfatal thromboembolic events were observed (1 in the anticoagulation group, 2 in the combination group) and 6 patients died (3 in the anticoagulation group, 3 in the combination group), none of them from a thromboembolic complication. However, 3 deaths were secondary to severe hemorrhagic complications (1 in the anticoagulation group, 2 in the combination group). Nonfatal hemorrhagic complications occurred more often in the combination group (n = 10, 13.1%) compared to the anticoagulation group (n = 1, 1.2%) (p = 0.003).

CONCLUSION: The combination of aspirin with anticoagulant is associated with increased bleeding in elderly atrial fibrillation patients. The effect on thromboembolism and the overall balance of benefit to risk could not be accurately assessed in this study due to the limited number of ischemic events.


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