Stroke and Major Bleeding Risk in Elderly Patients Aged ≥75 Years With Atrial Fibrillation: The Loire Valley Atrial Fibrillation Project

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Abstract

Background and Purpose—

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is increasingly prevalent in the elderly, but such patients tend to be under-represented in clinical trials. Increasing age confers a higher risk of stroke and bleeding when antithrombotic therapy is used. We examined risk factors for stroke and bleeding among elderly (age, >75 years) patients within a real world hospitalized cohort from the Loire Valley AF project.

Methods—

We identified elderly (age, >75 years) patients with AF, assessed their risk factors, and followed up for stroke, thromboembolism, death, or major bleeding. The effect of vitamin K antagonist (VKA) use on these end points was assessed.

Results—

We studied 8962 patients with AF, and we identified 4130 elderly (age, ≥75 years) patients. Using Kaplan–Meier analyses, event rates of death, stroke/thromboembolism, the composite of stroke/thromboembolism/death, and major bleeding increased with increasing age. For mortality, VKA-treated patients did better than non-VKA–treated patients. The risk of death and stroke/thromboembolism/death increased with increasing age. The risk of major bleeding did not increase with increasing age strata. VKA treatment was associated with lower mortality in those aged <75 years (adjusted hazard ratio [HR], 0.57; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.45–0.72), and the effect size was maintained with increasing age strata (Pint=0.67). For stroke/thromboembolism/death, VKA also has a significant benefit in those aged <75 years (adjusted HR, 0.69; [0.57–0.83]), and the effect size was maintained with increasing age strata (Pint=0.58). For major bleeding, there was no statistically significant difference between age strata (Pint=0.67). In elderly patients, age and previous stroke emerged as the main predictors of stroke and thromboembolism. Renal impairment and VKA use were predictors of major bleeding.

Conclusions—

Elderly patients with AF have a higher risk of stroke and bleeding, but the benefits of VKA therapy for stroke/thromboembolism or mortality were present regardless of increasing age.

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