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Rates of rebleeding, thrombosis and mortality associated with resumption of anticoagulant therapy after anticoagulant-related bleeding

Little DHW, Sutradhar R, Cerasuolo JO, Perez R, Douketis J, Holbrook A, Paterson JM, Gomes T, Siegal DM. CMAJ. 2021; 193(9):E304-9. Epub 2021 Mar 1. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.201433


Background — Data on resuming oral anticoagulants (OACs) after bleeding are primarily from studies involving patients given warfarin, with few data on direct OACs (DOACs). We aimed to characterize prescribing patterns for OACs after OAC-related bleeding and compare the rates of bleeding, thrombosis and mortality in patients who resumed either type of OAC with those who did not.

Methods — We conducted a population-based cohort study of adults aged 66 years or older who were admitted to hospital for bleeding while receiving OACs from Apr. 1, 2012, to Mar. 31, 2017, using linked administrative health databases from Ontario. We used competing risk methods to calculate cause-specific adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for thrombosis, bleeding and mortality with resumption of OACs adjusted as a time-varying covariate. We determined time to OAC resumption using the Kaplan–Meier method.

Results — We included 6793 patients with gastrointestinal (n = 4297, 63.3%), intracranial (n = 805, 11.9%) or other bleeding (n = 1691, 25.0%). At cohort entry, 3874 patients (57.0%) were prescribed warfarin and 2919 patients (43.0%) were prescribed a DOAC. The most common indication for OAC was atrial fibrillation (n = 5557, 81.8%), followed by venous thromboembolism (n = 1367, 20.1%). Oral anticoagulants were resumed in 4792 patients (70.5%) within 365 days of the index bleed. The median time to resumption was 46 (interquartile range 6–550) days. We found that resuming OAC was associated with reduced rates of thrombosis (adjusted HR 0.60, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.50–0.72) and mortality (adjusted HR 0.54, 95% CI 0.48–0.60), and an increased rate of rebleeding (adjusted HR 1.88, 95% CI 1.64–2.17).

Interpretation — We found that resuming OAC is associated with a reduction in thrombosis and mortality but an increase in bleeding. Randomized controlled trials that evaluate the net benefit of strategies for resumption of OAC after a bleeding event are warranted.

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