Comparison of clinical risk stratification for predicting stroke and thromboembolism in atrial fibrillation

Christopher A Aakre, Christopher J McLeod, Stephen S Cha, Teresa S M Tsang, Gregory Y H Lip, Bernard J Gersh
Stroke; a Journal of Cerebral Circulation 2014, 45 (2): 426-31

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Several accepted algorithms exist to characterize the risk of thromboembolism in atrial fibrillation. We performed a comparative analysis to assess the predictive value of 9 such schemes.

METHODS: In a longitudinal community-based cohort study from Olmsted County, Minnesota, 2720 residents with atrial fibrillation were followed up for 4.4±3.6 years±SD from 1990 to 2004. Risk factors were identified using a diagnostic index integrated with the electronic medical record. Thromboembolism and cardiovascular event data were collected and analyzed.

RESULTS: We identified 350 validated thromboembolic events in our cohort. Multivariable analysis identified age >75 years (odds ratio, 2.08; P<0.0001), female sex (odds ratio, 1.45; P=0.0015), history of hypertension (odds ratio, 3.07; P<0.0001), diabetes mellitus (odds ratio, 1.58; P=0.0003), and history of heart failure (odds ratio, 1.50; P=0.0102) as significant predictors of clinical thromboembolism. The Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation (SPAF; hazard ratio, 2.75; c=0.659), CHADS2-revised (hazard ratio, 3.48; c=0.654), and CHADS2-classical (hazard ratio, 2.90; c=0.653) risk schemes were most accurate in risk stratification. The low-risk cohort within the CHA2DS2-VASc scheme had the lowest event rate among all low-risk cohorts (0.11 per 100 person-years).

CONCLUSIONS: A direct comparison of 9 risk schemes reveals no profound differences in risk stratification accuracy for high-risk patients. Accurate prediction of low-risk patients is perhaps more valuable in determining those unlikely to benefit from oral anticoagulation therapy. Among our cohort, CHA2DS2-VASc performed best in this purpose.

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