Although non-stroke outcomes are more common, stroke risk scores can be used for prediction in patients with atrial fibrillation
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BACKGROUND: We investigated whether cardiovascular outcome patterns differ across atrial fibrillation (AF) subgroups defined by age, valvular status, newly diagnosed vs. prevalent cases, or anticoagulation status, and whether stroke risk models can accurately predict non-stroke outcomes. METHODS AND RESULTS: We performed a retrospective cohort study of all 147,952 adults with AF in Alberta, Canada between January 2008 and March 2014: 23,095 (15.6%) had at least one thromboembolic event (stroke, TIA, or systemic embolism) and 52,618 (35.6%) had a non-stroke major adverse cardiovascular events (NS-MACE = all-cause mortality, new heart failure, new acute coronary syndrome) during follow-up (median 46 months). NS-MACE were 2-3 times more frequent than stroke in all subgroups. Newly diagnosed patients had higher rates of all outcomes in the first year than those with prevalent AF (and those with valvular AF had the highest rates): incident vs. prevalent NS-MACE rates per 100 patient years were 53.1 vs. 23.2 for anticoagulated valvular AF patients, 32.8 vs. 11.0 for non-anticoagulated NVAF patients, and 29.6 vs. 14.6 for anticoagulated NVAF patients. In non-anticoagulated NVAF patients, the stroke risk models exhibited similar accuracy for prediction of NS-MACE as they did for stroke prediction: C-statistics 0.66 [0.66-0.66] vs. 0.67 [0.66-0.68] for ATRIA-STROKE, 0.66 [0.66-0.67] vs. 0.62 [0.61-0.62] for CHADS2, and 0.62 [0.61-0.62] vs. 0.52 [0.51-0.52] for CHA2DS2-VASc. CONCLUSIONS: Non-stroke cardiovascular outcomes are more common than stroke in all AF subgroups but current stroke risk scores exhibit similar (modest) ability to predict risk for NS-MACE as for stroke, allowing identification of high-risk individuals for intervention.
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