Patients using vitamin K antagonists show increased levels of coronary calcification: an observational study in low-risk atrial fibrillation patients

Bob Weijs*, Yuri Blaauw, Roger J. M. W. Rennenberg, Leon J. Schurgers, Carl C. M. M. Timmermans, Laurent Pison, Robby Nieuwlaat, Leonard Hofstra, Abraham A. Kroon, Joachim Wildberger, Harry J. G. M. Crijns

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Vitamin K antagonists (VKA) are currently the most frequently used drug to prevent ischaemic stroke in atrial fibrillation (AF) patients. However, VKA use has been associated with increased vascular calcification. The aim of this study was to investigate the contribution of VKA use to coronary artery calcification in low-risk AF patients. A prospective coronary calcium scan was performed in 157 AF patients without significant cardiovascular disease (108 males; mean age 57 9 years). A total of 71 (45) patients were chronic VKA users. The duration of VKA treatment varied between 6 and 143 months (mean 46 months). No significant differences in clinical characteristics were found between patients on VKA treatment and non-anticoagulated patients. However, median coronary artery calcium scores differed significantly between patients without and patients with VKA treatment [0, inter-quartile range (IQR) 040, vs. 29, IQR 0184; P 0.001]. Mean coronary calcium scores increased with the duration of VKA use (no VKA: 53 115, 660 months on VKA: 90 167, and 60 months on VKA: 236 278; P 0.001). Multivariable logistic regression analysis revealed that age and VKA treatment were significantly related to increased coronary calcium score. Patients using VKA show increased levels of coronary calcification. Age and VKA treatment were independently related to increased coronary calcium score.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2555-2562
JournalEuropean Heart Journal
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011


  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Calcium
  • Anticoagulants

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