JOURNAL ARTICLE

Risk of recurrent venous thromboembolism among deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism patients treated with warfarin

Beth L Nordstrom, Michael A Evans, Brian R Murphy, Edith A Nutescu, Jeff R Schein, Brahim K Bookhart
Current Medical Research and Opinion 2015, 31 (3): 439-47
25495136

OBJECTIVE: Guidelines for warfarin treatment of venous thromboembolism (VTE) recommend targeting an international normalized ratio (INR) level of 2-3. This study examines the association between INR levels and VTE recurrence among warfarin-treated patients.

METHODS: A retrospective cohort study in the MedMining electronic health record database included adults treated with warfarin for VTE in 2004-2011. INR levels during warfarin use were categorized as below therapeutic range (<2), in range (2-3), or above range (>3), with time in each category estimated using the Rosendaal method. Recurrent VTE was noted from 30 days after the initial VTE to end of follow-up, which ranged up to 8 years. The incidence of recurrent VTE was calculated, and association with time-varying INR levels estimated using Cox models.

RESULTS: Of 1753 qualifying patients, 867 had deep vein thrombosis, and 886 had pulmonary embolism. Mean age was 58 years, and 50.7% were female. Across all follow-up time, VTE recurrences were observed in 134 (7.6%) patients, at a rate of 3.2 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.7-9.1) events per 100 person-years. The risk of VTE recurrence was greater during time spent with INR <2 than with INR in the therapeutic range (hazard ratio [HR]: 3.37; 95% CI: 2.16-5.27). Low platelet counts also predicted greater risk of VTE recurrence (HR: 2.13; 95% CI: 1.24-3.67).

LIMITATIONS: Exposure to warfarin and other anticoagulants was estimated based on prescription data and may be inaccurate. The study data include care within a single health system; thus, care received outside of the health system may be missing, and results may not be generalizable to the broader US population.

CONCLUSIONS: Approximately 8% of patients experienced a recurrent VTE during follow-up. Subtherapeutic INR levels were associated with a more than three-fold increased risk of VTE recurrence.

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