Background The uptake rate of non-vitamin K oral anticoagulants (NOAC) for the treatment of non-valvular atrial fibrillation (AF) was far lower in the Netherlands (NL) compared to Belgium (BE). Also, patients on VKA in NL were treated with a higher target international normalized ratio (INR) range of 2.5 to 3.5. Objectives To explore the effect of these differences on thromboembolism (TE) and bleeding. Methods Data from the GARFIELD-AF registry was used. Patients with new-onset AF and >= 1 investigator-determined risk factor for stroke were included between 2010 and 2016. Event rates from 2 years of follow-up were used. Results In NL and BE, 1186 and 1705 patients were included, respectively. Female sex (42.3% vs 42.2%), mean age (70.7 vs 71.3 years), CHA(2)DS(2)-VASc (3.1 vs 3.1), and HAS-BLED score (1.4 vs 1.5) were comparable between NL and BE. At diagnosis in NL vs BE, 72.1% vs 14.6% received vitamin K antagonists (VKA) and 17.8% vs 65.5% NOACs, varying greatly across cohorts. Mean INR was 2.9 (+/- 1.0) and 2.4 (+/- 1.0) in NL and BE, respectively. Event rates per 100 patient-years in NL and BE, respectively, of all-cause mortality (3.38 vs 3.90; hazard ratio [HR] 0.86, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.65-1.15), ischemic stroke/TE (0.82 vs 0.72; HR 1.14, 95% CI 0.62-2.11), and major bleeding (2.06 vs 1.54; HR 1.33, 95% CI 0.89-1.99) did not differ significantly. Conclusions In GARFIELD-AF, despite similar characteristics, patients on anticoagulants were treated differently in NL and BE. Although the rate of major bleeding was 33% higher in NL, variations in bleeding, mortality, and TE rates were not statistically significant.
- international normalized ratio
- VENOUS THROMBOEMBOLIC DISEASE
- ORAL ANTICOAGULANTS