Factors affecting bleeding risk during anticoagulant therapy in patients with atrial fibrillation: observations from the Atrial Fibrillation Follow-up Investigation of Rhythm Management (AFFIRM) study

John P DiMarco, Gregory Flaker, Albert L Waldo, Scott D Corley, H Leon Greene, Robert E Safford, Lynda E Rosenfeld, Gladys Mitrani, Margit Nemeth
American Heart Journal 2005, 149 (4): 650-6

BACKGROUND: Stroke and systemic thromboembolism are serious problems for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), but their incidence can be substantially reduced by appropriate anticoagulation. Bleeding is the major complication of anticoagulant treatment, and the relative risks for bleeding vs stroke must be considered when starting anticoagulation.

METHODS: The AFFIRM trial included patients with AF and at least one risk factor for stroke, randomly assigning them to either a rate-control or rhythm-control strategy. All patients were initially treated with warfarin. The incidence of protocol-defined major and minor bleeding was documented during follow-up. Variables associated with bleeding were determined using a Cox proportional hazards model, using baseline and time-dependent covariates.

RESULTS: The 4060 patients in the AFFIRM trial were followed for an average of 3.5 years. Major bleeding occurred in 260 patients, an annual incidence of approximately 2% per year, with no significant difference between the rate-control and rhythm-control groups. Increased age, heart failure, hepatic or renal disease, diabetes, first AF episode, warfarin use, and aspirin use were significantly associated with major bleeding. Minor bleeding was common in both treatment arms, with 738 patients reporting this problem in one or more visits.

CONCLUSIONS: Bleeding is a significant problem that complicates management of patients with AF. Risk factors for bleeding can be identified, and knowledge of these risk factors can be used to plan therapy.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Trending Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"