Anticoagulation in atrial fibrillation: Selected controversies including optimal anticoagulation intensity, treatment of intracerebral hemorrhage

Robert G. Hart, Maria I. Aguilar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Clinical trials during the past 20 years have revolutionized the antithrombotic management of atrial fibrillation. Based on consideration of 30 randomized trials involving 29,017 participants, adjusted-dose warfarin remains the most efficacious prophylaxis against stroke for atrial fibrillation patients at moderate-to-high risk (compared with antiplatelet agents, warfarin reduces stroke by about 40%). The optimal INR for prevention of stroke for most atrial fibrillation patients is probably 2.0-2.5; INRs of 1.6-1.9 provide substantial protection, 80-90% of that afforded by higher intensities. Warfarin-associated intracerebral hemorrhage is an increasing problem as more elderly patients with atrial fibrillation are anticoagulated. Modest reductions in blood pressure results in large decreases in this most dreaded complication of warfarin; anticoagulation of elderly atrial fibrillation patients should be accompanied by a firm commitment to control hypertension. Warfarin-associated intracerebral hemorrhage has a 50% early mortality. A wide range of acute treatments to urgently reverse anticoagulation have been recommended by experts, but prevention is a far better option than treatment of this devastating problem.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-32
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Thrombosis and Thrombolysis
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2008

Keywords

  • Anticoagulation
  • Anticoagulation intensity
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage
  • Warfarin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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