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Stroke. 2019 Apr;50(4):939-946. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.118.023797.

Non-Vitamin K Antagonist Oral Anticoagulants Versus Warfarin in Atrial Fibrillation Patients With Intracerebral Hemorrhage.

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From the Department of Cardiology (P.B.N., M.S., J.N.K., T.B.L.), Aalborg University Hospital, Denmark.
Aalborg Thrombosis Research Unit, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health, Aalborg University, Denmark (P.B.N., F.S., M.S., J.N.K., G.Y.H.L., T.B.L.).
Unit of Clinical Biostatistics (F.S.), Aalborg University Hospital, Denmark.
Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom (G.Y.H.L.).


Background and Purpose- Recurrent bleeding associated with oral anticoagulants (OACs) causes a dilemma in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) sustaining an intracerebral hemorrhage. Treatment recommendations guiding clinical practice on optimal OAC agent selection in this population are lacking. This study aimed to investigate the comparative effectiveness and safety of non-vitamin K antagonist OAC (NOAC) versus warfarin in patients with AF sustaining an intracerebral hemorrhage. Methods- We conducted a nationwide observational cohort study including patients with AF sustaining an intracerebral hemorrhage and who subsequently claimed an OAC prescription. Contrasts of 1-year risks for ischemic stroke and intracerebral hemorrhage risks were obtained and evaluated by inverse probability treatment weighted absolute risk reduction and risk ratios. Results- Among 622 AF patients with intracerebral hemorrhage, 274 claimed a warfarin prescription and 348 a NOAC prescription. Mean age was 76 years (39% females); 72% had an index nonsevere event and 28% moderate to severe index event according to the Scandinavian Stroke Severity scale. The 1-year ischemic stroke risk was 7.85% for warfarin and 4.01% for NOACs, with a weighted absolute risk reduction of 3.78% (95% CI, -0.15% to 7.71%); the weighted risk ratio was 0.52 (0.27-1.00). For recurrent intracerebral hemorrhage, the risk was 7.00% for warfarin and 5.07% for NOACs. The absolute risk reduction was 1.93% (-2.02% to 5.87%), with an a weighted risk ratio of 0.72 (0.38-1.38). Conclusions- NOACs were associated with a nonsignificant lower risk of ischemic stroke and recurrent intracerebral hemorrhage compared with warfarin. The results add to current recommendations of selecting a NOAC agent for stroke prophylaxis treatment in patients with AF, including those with sustaining an intracerebral hemorrhage.


anticoagulants; atrial fibrillation; brain infarction; cerebral hemorrhage

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