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      Incidence of Stroke among Chronic Hemodialysis Patients with Nonrheumatic Atrial Fibrillation


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          In general, nonrheumatic atrial fibrillation is associated with a high risk of stroke. However, its impact on stroke in the setting of chronic hemodialysis treatment is insufficiently addressed in the literature. We assessed the incidence of stroke among 430 chronic hemodialysis patients and the impact of atrial fibrillation and various other potential risk factors on stroke in a retrospective study covering 1,111.16 patient-years. The overall incidence of stroke was 3.78/100 patient-years. Among patients with chronic atrial fibrillation without any antithrombotic therapy besides regular dialysis anticoagulation, the stroke incidence was 1.0/100 patient-years and did not differ statistically significantly from the rate among patients without this arrhythmia, in whom the incidence was 2.8/100 patient-years (p = 0.220). Conversely, the overall rate of stroke incidence per 100 patient-years was statistically significantly higher in patients with diabetic nephropathy (6.46, p = 0.0036), age >65 years (5.90, p = 0.0001), moderate to severe hypertension (6.8, p = 0.0017), weight gain of >2 kg between dialyses as a marker of poor patient compliance (6.47, p = 0.0433), and antithrombotic therapy with salicylates or warfarin (8.33, p = 0.0002), as compared with corresponding groups without these risk factors. Our data suggest that in contrast to other risk factors nonrheumatic atrial fibrillation in itself is not associated with an increased risk of stroke in patients on maintenance hemodialysis treatment.

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          An analysis of the lowest effective intensity of prophylactic anticoagulation for patients with nonrheumatic atrial fibrillation.

          To avert major hemorrhage, physicians need to know the lowest intensity of anticoagulation that is effective in preventing stroke in patients with atrial fibrillation. Since the low rate of stroke has made it difficult to perform prospective studies to resolve this issue, we conducted a case-control study. We studied 74 consecutive patients with atrial fibrillation who were admitted to our hospital from 1989 through 1994 after having an ischemic stroke while taking warfarin. For each patient with stroke, three controls with nonrheumatic atrial fibrillation who were treated as outpatients were randomly selected from the 1994 registry of the anticoagulant-therapy unit (222 controls). We used the international normalized ratio (INR) to measure the intensity of anticoagulation. For the patients with stroke, we used INR at admission; for the controls, we selected the INR that was measured closest to the month and day of the matched case patient's hospital admission. The risk of stroke rose steeply at INRs below 2.0. At an INR of 1.7, the adjusted odds ratio for stroke, as compared with the risk at an INR of 2.0, was 2.0 (95 percent confidence interval, 1.6 to 2.4); at an INR of 1.5, it was 3.3 (95 percent confidence interval, 2.4 to 4.6); and at an INR of 1.3, it was 6.0 (95 percent confidence interval, 3.6 to 9.8). Other independent risk factors were previous stroke (odds ratio, 10.4; 95 percent confidence interval, 4.4 to 24.5), diabetes mellitus (odds ratio, 2.95; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.3 to 6.5), hypertension (odds ratio, 2.5; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.1 to 5.7), and current smoking (odds ratio, 5.7; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.4 to 24.0). Among patients with atrial fibrillation, anticoagulant prophylaxis is effective at INRs of 2.0 or greater. Since previous studies have indicated that the risk of hemorrhage rises rapidly at INRs greater than 4.0 to 5.0, tight control of anticoagulant therapy to maintain the INR between 2.0 and 3.0 is a better strategy than targeting lower, less effective levels of anticoagulation.
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            Optimal oral anticoagulant therapy in patients with nonrheumatic atrial fibrillation and recent cerebral ischemia. The European Atrial Fibrillation Trial Study Group.

            A number of studies have demonstrated the efficacy of oral anticoagulant therapy in reducing the risk of stroke and systemic embolism in patients with nonrheumatic atrial fibrillation. However, both the targeted and the actual levels of anticoagulation differed widely among the studies, and a number of studies failed to report standardized prothrombin-time ratios as international normalized ratios (INRs). We therefore performed an analysis to determine the intensity of oral anticoagulant therapy in nonrheumatic atrial fibrillation that provides the best balance between the prevention of thromboembolism and the occurrence of bleeding complications. We calculated INR-specific incidence rates for both ischemic and major hemorrhagic events occurring in 214 patients who received anticoagulant therapy in the European Atrial Fibrillation Trial, a secondary-prevention trial in patients with nonrheumatic atrial fibrillation and a recent episode of minor cerebral ischemia. The optimal intensity of anticoagulation was found to lie between an INR of 2.0 and an INR of 3.9. No treatment effect was apparent with anticoagulation below an INR of 2.0. The rate of thromboembolic events was lowest at INRs from 2.0 to 3.9, and most major bleeding complications occurred with treatment at intensities with INRs of 5.0 or above. To achieve optimal levels of anticoagulation with the lowest risk in patients with atrial fibrillation and a recent episode of cerebral ischemia, the target value for the INR should be set at 3.0, and values below 2.0 and above 5.0 should be avoided.
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              Adjusted-dose warfarin versus low-intensity, fixed-dose warfarin plus aspirin for high-risk patients with atrial fibrillation: Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation III randomised clinical trial


                Author and article information

                Am J Nephrol
                American Journal of Nephrology
                S. Karger AG
                February 2001
                12 March 2001
                : 21
                : 1
                : 35-39
                Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Nephrology and 1st Department of Internal Medicine, St. Pölten, Austria
                46216 Am J Nephrol 2001;21:35–39
                © 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 1, Tables: 2, References: 23, Pages: 5
                Self URI (application/pdf): https://www.karger.com/Article/Pdf/46216
                Self URI (text/html): https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/46216
                Self URI (journal page): https://www.karger.com/SubjectArea/Nephrology
                Clinical Study

                Cardiovascular Medicine,Nephrology
                Risk factors of stroke,Hemodialysis,Uremia,Anticoagulation,Antithrombotic therapy,Atrial fibrillation,Stroke


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