Net clinical benefit of warfarin in individuals with atrial fibrillation across stroke risk and across primary and secondary care

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Abstract

Objective

To investigate net clinical benefit (NCB) of warfarin in individuals with atrial fibrillation (AF) across stroke risk and across primary and secondary care.

Methods

We conducted a linked electronic health record cohort study of 70 206 individuals with initial record of diagnosis of AF in primary (n=29 568) or secondary care (n=40 638) in England (1998–2010). We defined stroke risk according to the CHA2DS2-VASc score, and followed individuals over a median 2.2 years for 7005 ischaemic strokes (IS) and for 906 haemorrhagic strokes (HS). We calculated incidence rates (IRs) and 95% CIs per 100 person-years (PYs) (IR (95% CI)/100 PY) of IS and HS, with and without use of warfarin, and the NCB (ie, number of IS avoided) per 100 PYs of warfarin use (NCB (95% CI)/100 PY).

Results

Compared with individuals with initial record of diagnosis in secondary care, those in primary care had lower scores of IS risk (CHA2DS2-VASc≤2: 30.8% vs 20.6%), and lower overall incidence of IS (IR (95% CI)/100 PY: 2.3 (2.2 to 2.4) vs 4.3 (4.2 to 4.4), p value=0.00); however among individuals with CHA2DS2-VASc=0, 1 or 2 there were no differences in IS rate between those with initial record of diagnosis in primary care or secondary care (IR (95% CI)/100 PY: 0.2 (0.1 to 0.3) vs 0.3 (0.2 to 0.5), p value=0.16), (IR (95% CI)/100 PY: 0.6 (0.4 to 0.7) vs 0.7 (0.6 to 0.9), p value=0.08) and (IR (95% CI)/100 PY: 1.1 (1.00 to 1.3) vs 1.4 (1.2 to 1.6), p value=0.05), respectively. For CHA2DS2-VASc=0, 1 and 2, IRs of IS with versus without warfarin were (IR (95% CI)/100 PY: 0.4 (0.2 to 0.8) vs 0.2 (0.1 to 0.3), p value=0.16), (IR (95% CI)/100 PY: 0.4 (0.3 to 0.7) vs 0.7 (0.6 to 0.8), p value=0.03) and (IR (95% CI)/100 PY: 0.8 (0.7 to 1.0) vs 1.4 (1.3 to 1.6), p value=0.00), respectively. We found a significant positive NCB of warfarin from CHA2DS2-VASc≥2 in men (NCB (95% CI)/100 PY: 0.5 (0.1 to 0.9)) and from CHA2DS2-VASc≥3 in women (NCB (95% CI)/100 PY: 1.5 (1.1 to 1.9)).

Conclusions

CHA2DS2-VASc accurately stratifies IS risk in individuals with AF across both primary and secondary care. However, the incidence rate of ischaemic stroke at CHA2DS2-VASc=1 are lower than previously reported, which may change the decision to start anticoagulation with warfarin in these individuals.

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