Whilst antithrombotic therapy is recommended in people with atrial fibrillation, little is known about the survival benefits of antithrombotic treatment in those with both high ischaemic and bleeding risk scores. We aim to describe the distribution of these risk scores in those with a prior diagnosis of atrial fibrillation who have suffered stroke and to determine the net clinical benefit of antithrombotic treatment.
We used regional stroke register data in the UK. Patients with a prior diagnosis of atrial fibrillation and ischaemic or haemorrhagic stroke patients were selected and their ischaemic stroke risk score (CHA2DS2-VASc) and bleeding risk score (HEMORR2HAGES) scores retrospectively calculated. Logistic regression and Cox proportional hazards models were constructed to determine the association between antithrombotic therapy prior to stroke and in-hospital and long-term mortality.
A total of 1928 stroke patients (mean age 81.3 years (standard deviation 8.5), 56.8% women) with prior atrial fibrillation were included. Of these, 1761 (91.3%) suffered ischaemic stroke. The most common phenotype (64%) was of those with both high CHA2DS2-VASc (≥2) and high HEMORR2HAGES score (≥4). In our fully adjusted model, patients on antithrombotic treatment with both high ischaemic and bleeding risk had a significant reduction in odds of 31% for in-hospital mortality (odds ratio 0.69 (95% confidence interval 0.48–1.00: p = 0.049)) and 17% relative risk reduction for long-term mortality (hazard ratio 0.83 (95% confidence interval 0.71–0.97: p = 0.02)).
Our study suggests that antithrombotic treatment has a prognostic benefit following incident stroke in those with both high ischaemic risk and high bleeding risk. This should be considered when choosing treatment options in this group of patients.
- atrial fibrillation
- antithrombotic treatment