Ischemic Stroke and Intracranial Hemorrhage With Aspirin, Dabigatran, and Warfarin: Impact of Quality of Anticoagulation Control

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Background and Purpose—

Little is known about the impact of quality of anticoagulation control, as reflected by time in therapeutic range (TTR), on the effectiveness and safety of warfarin therapy in Chinese patients with atrial fibrillation. We investigated the risks of ischemic stroke and intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) in relation to warfarin at various TTRs in a real-world cohort of Chinese patients with atrial fibrillation receiving warfarin and compared with those on dabigatran, aspirin, and no therapy.


This is an observational study.


Of 8754 Chinese patients with atrial fibrillation and CHA2DS2-VASc ≥1 (79.5±9.2 years; CHA2DS2-VASc, 4.1±1.5; and Hypertension, Abnormal Renal/Liver Function, Stroke, Bleeding History or Predisposition, Labile International Normalized Ratio, Elderly (>65 years), Drugs/Alcohol Concomitantly [HAS-BLED], 2.2±0.9), 16.3% received warfarin, 41.1% aspirin, 4.5% dabigatran, and 38.1% received no therapy. The incidence of ischemic stroke was highest in patients with no therapy (10.38%/y), followed by patients on aspirin (7.95%/y). The incidence of stroke decreased progressively with increasing TTR quartiles (<17.9%, 17.9%–38.8%, 38.8%–56.2%, and >56.2%) from 7.34%/y (first quartile) to 3.10%/y (fourth quartile). Patients on dabigatran had the lowest incidence of stroke among all groups (2.24%/y). The incidence of ICH was lowest in patients on dabigatran (0.32%/y) compared with those on warfarin (0.90%/y), aspirin (0.80%/y), and no therapy (0.53%/y). ICH incidence decreased with increasing TTR from 1.37%/y (first quartile) to 0.74%/y (fourth quartile).


In Chinese patients with atrial fibrillation, the benefits of warfarin therapy for stroke prevention and ICH risk are closely dependent on the quality of anticoagulation, as reflected by TTR. Even at the top TTR quartile, warfarin was associated with a higher stroke and ICH risk than dabigatran.

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