Vitamin K and non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants for non-valvular atrial fibrillation in real-life

Michela Giustozzi, Maria Cristina Vedovati, Paolo Verdecchia, Lucia Pierpaoli, Melina Verso, Serenella Conti, Federica Cianella, Emanuela Marchesini, Esmeralda Filippucci, Giancarlo Agnelli, Cecilia Becattini
European Journal of Internal Medicine 2016, 33: 42-6

BACKGROUND: Current guidelines recommend vitamin K antagonists (VKAs) or non-vitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs) for stroke prevention in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF).

METHODS: We compared the clinical features of consecutive in- and out-patients with non-valvular AF newly-treated with NOACs or on treatment with VKAs.

RESULTS: Overall, 1314 patients newly-treated with NOACs and 1024 on treatment with VKAs were included in the study. The mean CHA2DS2-VASc score was 4.3±1.5 and 4.0±1.5 and the mean HAS-BLED score was 2.8±1.2 and 2.2±1.1 in the two groups, respectively (both p<0.001). Hypertension, previous stroke, female gender, vascular diseases and previous bleeding were more prevalent in NOACs patients. Renal failure, age ≥75years and congestive heart failure were more prevalent in VKAs patients. Among NOACs patients, 438 were given dabigatran, 463 rivaroxaban and 413 apixaban (33%, 35% and 31%, respectively). The mean CHA2DS2-VASc and HAS-BLED scores were higher in rivaroxaban or apixaban patients compared with dabigatran (both p<0.001) and VKAs patients (both p<0.001). A lower mean age was observed in patients newly-treated with dabigatran. Patients newly-treated with reduced doses of NOACs (599 patients, 45.5%) had a higher CHA2DS2-VASc (4.8±1.4 vs. 3.9±1.5 vs. 4.0±1.5) and HAS-BLED (2.9±1.1 vs. 2.8±1.2 vs. 2.2±1.1) scores compared with those treated with regular doses of NOACs or VKAs.

CONCLUSION: Patients given rivaroxaban and apixaban in clinical practice have a higher thrombotic and hemorrhagic risk in comparison with patients given dabigatran or VKAs. A considerable proportion of patients receive reduced doses of NOACs.


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