Authors: Steven Deitelzweig, Allison Keshishian , Amiee Kang, Amol D. Dhamane, Xuemei Luo, Neeraja Balachander, Lisa Rosenblatt, Jack Mardekian, Jenny Jiang, Huseyin Yuce, Gregory Y. H. Lip




Background: Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding is the most common type of major bleeding associated with oral anticoagulant (OAC) treatment. Patients with major bleeding are at an increased risk of a stroke if an OAC is not reinitiated.

Methods: Non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) patients initiating OACs were identified from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare data and four US commercial claims databases. Patients who had a major GI bleeding event (hospitalization with primary diagnosis of GI bleeding) while on an OAC were selected. A control cohort of patients without a major GI bleed during OAC treatment was matched to major GI bleeding patients using propensity scores. Stroke/systemic embolism (SE), major bleeding, and mortality (in the CMS population) were examined using Cox proportional hazards models with robust sandwich estimates.

Results: A total of 15,888 patients with major GI bleeding and 833,052 patients without major GI bleeding were included in the study. Within 90days of the major GI bleed, 58% of patients discontinued the initial OAC treatment. Patients with a major GI bleed had a higher risk of stroke/SE [hazard ratio (HR): 1.57, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.42–1.74], major bleeding (HR: 2.79, 95% CI: 2.64–2.95), and all-cause mortality (HR: 1.29, 95% CI: 1.23–1.36) than patients without a major GI bleed.

Conclusion: Patients with a major GI bleed on OAC had a high rate of OAC discontinuation and significantly higher risk of stroke/SE, major bleeding, and mortality after hospital discharge than those without. Effective management strategies are needed for patients with risk factors for major GI bleeding.

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