Prognostic significance of nuisance bleeding in anticoagulated patients with atrial fibrillation

Emily C. O'Brien, Da Juanicia N. Holmes, Laine E. Thomas, Gregg C. Fonarow, Larry A. Allen, Bernard J. Gersh, Peter R. Kowey, Daniel E. Singer, Michael D. Ezekowitz, Gerald V. Naccarelli, Jack E. Ansell, Paul S. Chan, Kenneth W. Mahaffey, Alan S. Go, James V. Freeman, James A. Reiffel, Eric D. Peterson, Jonathan P. Piccini, Elaine M. Hylek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Bleeding is commonly cited as a reason for stopping oral anticoagulants (OACs). Whether minor bleeding events (nuisance bleeding, NB) in patients with atrial fibrillation on OACs are associated with OAC discontinuation, major bleeding, and stroke/systemic embolism (SSE) is unknown. METHODS: Within the ORBIT-AF prospective, outpatient registry (Outcomes Registry for Better Informed Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation), we identified 6771 patients ≥18 years of age at 172 sites with atrial fibrillation and eligible follow-up visits. NB was ascertained from the medical record and was defined as minor bleeding that did not require medical attention (eg, bruising, hemorrhoidal bleeding). We used multivariable pooled logistic regression modeling to evaluate the associations between NB and major bleeding and SSE in the 180 days after documentation of NB. Our unit of analysis was the patient visit, occurring at ≈6-month intervals for a median of 1.5 years following enrollment. Changes in anticoagulation treatment satisfaction after NB were examined descriptively in a subset of patients. RESULTS: The median age of the overall population was 75.0 (interquartile range, 67.0-81.0); 90.0% were white and 42.5% were female. Among 6771 patients (18 560 visits), n=1357 (20.0%) had documented NB, for an incidence rate of 14.8 events per 100 person-years. Over 96.4% of patients remained on OAC therapy after the NB event. Overall, 287 (4.3%) patients experienced major bleeding and 64 (0.96%) had a SSE event during follow-up. NB was not associated with a significant increased risk of major bleeding over 6 months in models adjusting for the ATRIA bleeding score (Anticoagulation and Risk Factors in Atrial Fibrillation) (odds ratio, 1.04; 95% confidence interval, 0.68-1.60; P=0.86). NB was also not associated with increased SSE risk over 6 months in models adjusting for the CHA2DS2-VASc risk score (odds ratio, 1.24; 95% confidence interval, 0.53-2.91; P=0.62). CONCLUSIONS: NB is common among patients with atrial fibrillation on OACs. However, NB was not associated with a higher risk of major bleeding or SSE over the next 6 months, suggesting its occurrence should not lead to changes in anticoagulation treatment strategies in OAC-treated patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)889-897
Number of pages9
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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