From a recently published study:
The aim of this study was to investigate whether oral anticoagulants can provide efficacy and safety profiles better than no anticoagulant in patients with stages 4 or 5 chronic kidney disease and atrial fibrillation.
From 2001 to 2017, a cohort of patients with stages 4 or 5 chronic kidney disease and atrial fibrillation based on electronic medical records were selected from Chang Gung Memorial Hospital system in Taiwan. Patients were divided into nonvitamin K antagonist oral anticoagulants (NOACs), warfarin, and nonanticoagulated groups. They were followed from the index date to the occurrence of the study outcomes or for 5 years, whichever occurred first. The outcomes were admissions due to ischemic stroke or systemic embolism or major bleedings. Survival analyses were conducted to estimate the incidence rates of outcomes.
A total of 3771 patients with atrial fibrillation and estimated glomerular filtration rate less than 30 mL/min/1.73m 2 were enrolled, of whom 2971 were in the nonanticoagulated group, 280 in the NOAC group, and 520 in the warfarin group. About 25% of all subjects (940 patients) were on dialysis. The mean follow-up was 3.2 years. After adjusting for sex, age, comorbidities, and comedication, the warfarin group had a significantly higher risk of ischemic stroke or systemic embolism (adjusted hazard ratio [aHR] 3.1, 95% confidence interval [CI] 2.1-4.6) than the nonanticoagulated group. The NOAC group had a similar risk of ischemic stroke or systemic embolism (aHR 1.1; 95% CI 0.3-3.4) to that of the nonanticoagulated group. Both the warfarin and the NOAC groups had a significantly higher major bleeding risk than the noncoagulated group (aHR 2.8 [95% CI 2.0-3.8] for warfarin; aHR 3.1 [95% CI 1.9-5.2] for NOAC).
The use of NOACs or warfarin is not more effective than using no anticoagulants at all in reducing the risk of ischemic stroke or systemic embolism. Both NOACs and warfarin are associated with increased risk of major bleeding. Our results do not support the use of anticoagulants in patients with atrial fibrillation and stages 4-5 chronic kidney disease.
From an accompanying editorial:
The present study makes a significant contribution to the controversial field of oral anticoagulation in chronic kidney disease patients and advises against an unselected anticoagulant treatment of elderly chronic kidney disease stages 4-5 patients with atrial fibrillation to prevent thromboembolic events. Physicians are again left with an individualized approach to these patients weighing carefully in the inherent benefits and risks of oral anticoagulation.