AIMS: The relationship between outcomes and time after diagnosis for patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF) is poorly defined, especially beyond the first year.
METHODS AND RESULTS: GARFIELD-AF is an ongoing, global observational study of adults with newly diagnosed NVAF. Two-year outcomes of 17 162 patients prospectively enrolled in GARFIELD-AF were analysed in light of baseline characteristics, risk profiles for stroke/systemic embolism (SE), and antithrombotic therapy. The mean (standard deviation) age was 69.8 (11.4) years, 43.8% were women, and the mean CHA2DS2-VASc score was 3.3 (1.6); 60.8% of patients were prescribed anticoagulant therapy with/without antiplatelet (AP) therapy, 27.4% AP monotherapy, and 11.8% no antithrombotic therapy. At 2-year follow-up, all-cause mortality, stroke/SE, and major bleeding had occurred at a rate (95% confidence interval) of 3.83 (3.62; 4.05), 1.25 (1.13; 1.38), and 0.70 (0.62; 0.81) per 100 person-years, respectively. Rates for all three major events were highest during the first 4 months. Congestive heart failure, acute coronary syndromes, sudden/unwitnessed death, malignancy, respiratory failure, and infection/sepsis accounted for 65% of all known causes of death and strokes for <10%. Anticoagulant treatment was associated with a 35% lower risk of death.
CONCLUSION: The most frequent of the three major outcome measures was death, whose most common causes are not known to be significantly influenced by anticoagulation. This suggests that a more comprehensive approach to the management of NVAF may be needed to improve outcome. This could include, in addition to anticoagulation, interventions targeting modifiable, cause-specific risk factors for death.
CLINICAL TRIAL REGISTRATION: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT01090362.